Driving the 148 from Fort Coulonge I pass over the hills of Vinton and I’m reminded that the Journal’s retiring editor lives here with her boys and husband. I think back nine or ten years when I first interviewed Allyson Beauregard at the Jonction Restaurant in Campbell’s Bay, for the position of editor with the Pontiac Journal.
How long ago that seems to be!
And now Allyson is moving on — to a higher position with much greater responsibilities. She, al-ready a mother of two boys, is expected her third child and wants to stay home with her husband and growing family for the next couple of years. The new editor, with today’s edition, is Maryam Amini.
The Journal has been proud of is history of great editors, virtually all from the Pontiac. Rather than turn to the J-schools of the country, the Journal sought local talent, people who know our Pontiac, who know many of the players and leaders of our communities, and who know our history, both past and present-day.
Allyson offered us both: studying pre-Law at the University of Ottawa, and raised in a family related to many other Pontiac families.
Replacing Allyson has not been easy and the Journal’s search did not yield many Pontiac candidates. Ms Amini, however, lives on the edge of the Pontiac and has been familiarizing herself with our towns and associations, our leaders and our hard-working people of the farms and forest, business folks, artists — you name it! Maryam brings certain advantages of her own — she has foreign media experience, which is a profound asset, as well as university training in the media and media studies.
In other words, the best of both worlds.
This search for a new editor has highlighted one challenge we all face in the Pontiac: the low percentage of our kids going on to university or further studies. There are many who do go on (as evinced by the Pontiac Scholarship Fund applications) but many who have decided their further schooling will be from experience in the real world, the School of Hard Knocks for some. But many of our kids say they prefer to get a job or to travel — to take a break from studying — not realizing that it can be difficult to get back into the study groove after a few years slog in the world of minimum wage or from the freedom of backpacking around the globe.
Ms Amini opens a new chapter in the Journal (and in the Pontiac’s history). She will help make our communities and our histories more vital and fulfilling — as she marshals the assistance of all of us, readers and participants alike. It may take a community to raise a child, but it also requires a community’s participation to create its own media, its own means of communication, real and thoughtful and informative, its own reflection back to its members.
Allyson quickly rose to the challenges of her new position — winning several “Best Editorial in Quebec” awards, on her way, from the community newspaper association. That was the first of several writing awards. She swiftly learned to manage a newspaper employing just over twenty people and distributed to 10,000 homes. She and the Journal’s team of writers, reporters, designers, sales and office personnel had to be at the top of their game, issue after issue — they were facing a tough audience! And that audience, all of us, gave her and her team top marks.
I am sure Ms Amini will follow in these footsteps.
We often say that our greatest asset in the Pontiac is our people, and this is hard to doubt. But it also means we all have to maintain and grow the value of our human assets. That means better education, health, nutrition, and more stimulation are needed from us and from our government. Every job opening should attract multiple candidates, and every candidate offer diligence and ambition. Our assets are our kids and our responsibilities to them never end. The Journal has been fortunate in attracting exceptional people and Allyson Beauregard is a shining example. Maryam Amini,
I am sure, will build that tradition even further.
Let us all thank Ms Beauregard for her incredible contributions not only to the local newspaper, but to the life and history of the Pontiac. Ms Amini is stepping into that grand challenge and I’m confident she will aid and impress us all, as we build this beautiful corner of our land. Thank you, Allyson; welcome, Maryam!