Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express Editor

Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express Editor

VAUGHAN: Thank you for allowing me to serve Lacombe

Reflections on the importance of community journalism

It is with some reticence that I am now publicly announcing that I will no longer serve the community of Lacombe as the editor of the Lacombe Express as of Aug. 14.

For the last 2.5 years, I have published stories in the Express as both a reporter and eventually as editor and it truly has been a privilege to serve the citizens of this community and the people who call this entire region home.

At this time, I would also like to announce that my career as a journalist is also coming to an end after I have accepted a position with another Lacombe organization, where I will be able to continue to serve this community in a different capacity.

After initially getting into journalism in 2009 with dreams of becoming a war reporter, I found my true calling as a writer was being able to serve communities much like the one I grew up in. In over 10 years, I have worked in Calgary, Strathmore, Hanna, Sylvan Lake, Eckville, Red Deer and finally in Lacombe and I can state undeniably that I have been lucky to grow as a writer, while also learning about the beauty of community.

In every one of these communities, it has been an absolute pleasure to work with community-minded, charitable individuals who are all working in different ways to help see their communities thrive.

It is from these people where I began to understand the perennial value of service to the community and I have tried to adapt my own skillset to be able to serve and better humanity.

It was my honour to be the editor of the Lacombe Express in good times and bad and it is my hope and expectation that the Express will continue to provide accurate, needed and timely information to the people of Lacombe, Lacombe County and Blackfalds.

With this in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to speak about the importance of local newspapers.

While naysayers and conspiracy theorists will continue to denigrate organizations working to serve the public good, it is important to remember that without newspapers like the Lacombe Express — the unique and wonderful stories of communities, particularly rural communities, would not be shared.

Not only is local news important for posterity, it is also an important tool to keep citizens engaged with their communities. It is important for every community that a free and independent press is available to disseminate information coming from those in power.

In a democracy, it is important that the press continues to be on the frontlines of history in order to defend our liberty and freedom from demagogues and tyrants.

Obviously, the work of a community reporter is, luckily, not often so high-minded and fortunately, the typical story in a community newspaper is one that celebrates the beauty and uniqueness of the community.

I was fortunate to be able to share the beauty of Lacombe with others and I hope people continue to support their local newspaper in order to continue to celebrate those people.

Thank you all for supporting this newspaper and thank you for allowing me to serve the community.

I look forward to continuing to serve this community in the near future.