WE ARE ONE

Lasha Morningstar

December 2, 2013

Change rankles me. It can be the most unusual thing that sets my nights into nightmare drama.

The latest is that my dentist and her family are moving to the Gulf Islands. A fabulous professional, she deserves the life that awaits her. Otters swimming to the shore to visit, dolphins at play in the bay. Time to write and read.

Of course, I am happy for her. And sad for me and her other patients.

Then there is the continuous desecration in the river valley - that wonderful bit of shared wildness that city planners are commercializing according to someone's plan. As a result, wildlife, natural foliage and people not wanting to be mowed down by rogue bikers are leaving.

The city is growing and my heart aches every time a lovely old building or house is bulldozed down in favour of new condominiums. The same with the trees and bits of wild spaces. It is not my city anymore.

Now if I was sitting in one of my sociology classes and railed like this, the prof and classmates would point out that it is society that is changing, changing, changing.

They are right. This change is hitting me right in the heart now as journalism changes. My work life is as a journalist. I had not planned it that way. Wanted to be a doctor. But that was not to be.

So I went to school and took radio, stage, TV and film arts. It was the writing part that took.

Writing is one of my sustaining passions. When I would go out to talk to classes, I would describe being a journalist as wearing a mantle of responsibility. It was our job to tell people's stories, create understanding, uncover wrongs, stand up for what is right no matter what the cost.

Suddenly papers that were owned by individuals or families were bought up by entrepreneurs who lived in the East. Suddenly what became the headline was the bottom line.

Mergers. Papers that had two differing voices now supported only one. Small towns sold out, and wire copy filled pages that once told what was happening in their community.

The big city papers are smaller, have lost much of their local touch in favour of wire copy and cost more and more.

Society again, would shout my classmates. They are right. People, racing to work, wanting to shut out a world they feel they know they have no control over plunk themselves in front on the television at night to get their news and views of the world that way.

DATA LOCATER

"It's a computer-run world," said one of my classmates as she unlocked her tablet. She's right. In truth, I love my computer. It takes me into worlds I can only dream of. It finds information I need.

When it breaks down, I cheer when one of those magician technicians restores her to order. Yes, I have named her.

But this computer - her name is Rose - allows me to keep that original mantle of responsibility. She allows me to lay out pages, write headlines, write stories and a column on information that most will not find anywhere else.

This Western Catholic Reporter gathers news, primarily here in the archdiocese, but also nationally, globally. We are a global church.

Stories that would never make the secular press or news channels are found in these pages. Columnists from various interests and strengths tell their news and views. Local events are covered. Joyful ordinations are documented.

Accounts of priests bravely standing up for indigenous peoples in the face of invading mining companies make the WCR pages. Words of guidance and news from our archbishop are shared. The editor's editorials set readers to thinking.

APPRECIATIVE CALLERS

Before our phone system changed, I would sometimes answer the phone and talk to someone from away who wanted to subscribe to our paper.

Usually they were people who had visited the archdiocese, read the paper and wanted to keep on reading it. They find what they want and need in its pages and are willing to pay for it. Their remarks gladdened my heart.

Change, as you probably know, is happening here at the WCR. Simply put, the paper is going to 24 issues a year as of January and there is a subscription fee, $30 for Alberta residents (780-424-1557) and there is a trial online edition.

I am a shy person but know that the voice of the WCR is the voice of the Church, your community and we need your support. Selfishly, I would miss writing for you.

(Lasha Morningstar lasha@wcr.ab.ca)