“It’s always warmer in Moose Jaw.”
I’ve been saying that a lot during my nine months as a reporter at the Times-Herald.
As a born-and-raised Reginan, I hadn’t spent much time here until I landed in the newsroom on Fairford Street West as an intern in 2012.
Being in a valley was a novelty, especially during the winter.
Being sheltered from the wind was the first thing I noticed in Moose Jaw, but every day since, this city has taught me something new.
Reporting the news can be a thankless job — which is fine because we don’t do our jobs for gratitude — but it so rarely felt that way here.
Even on controversial stories, feedback was usually stable and thoughtful.
Moose Javians care about their city. I had never experienced a sense of community like this before.
I have been astounded by the city’s constant generosity towards those in need.
Like other prairie cities, people here support each other.
There are a lot of positive things happening in Moose Jaw. I can’t wait to come back and try the bike skills park when it’s completed.
There’s a vibrant arts scene that’s being fueled by talented musicians, artists and performers, many of whom are young people.
As great at they are, there’s a lot more to Moose Jaw than its tourist attractions. The people make this place.
Almost every day I met someone who blew me away. I met passionate, dedicated and eloquent people, and then I got to write about them.
I have been repeatedly inspired by the work of my colleagues (in sports and news) and the direction of my superiors.
Today is my last day as an employee at this newspaper. I will begin a new chapter in my career at the Regina Leader-Post in March.
I have learned from my positive experiences, but I always get more out of the negatives.
This was the first place where I reported on deaths. The first fresh corpse of a non-family-member I ever saw was out here.
This is where I learned how to be a court and crime reporter.
This is where I started trusting my instincts, listening more and talking less.
This is where I got a taste of paranoid and cynical anonymous online trolls who don’t understand the meaning of an editorial column. (For the record, it means it’s the opinion of the entire editorial staff.)
Sentimentality doesn’t come easily to me. Being a news reporter is going to mean moving around the country as much as necessary.
Writing a farewell column was a pretty treacherous concept. I don’t usually write things that could be read with Green Day’s Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) playing in the background. But Moose Jaw has won a piece of my heart.
I don’t mind getting sappy because of how much this city has given me.
If I ever get to retire, the Jaw will be high up on my list of places to consider.
Follow Austin on Twitter @theaustinx.