Tamara Neely, the stalwart editor of What’s Up Yukon since October 2012, is having a kid.
As assistant editor, I’ve watched her grow rounder month-by-month as the fetus inside her womb laid waste to the second trimester and dove into the third. And through it all she’s been there — packing her birthing bulk around town, writing three-interview stories for page 3, debating writers on proper usage and technique, arranging photo shoots, and generally keeping our ship afloat.
But alas, there comes a time when even the most tenacious journalist must succumb to the realities of pregnancy; that time has come for Tamara. This issue — the one in your hot little hands — is her last as editor before she starts a year-long maternity leave, in which she will introduce a little, 10-fingered creature to the great human debacle.
We are very different people, Tamara and I.
She likes planning weeks or even months ahead; I prefer to rely on the centrifugal force of the universe to supply solutions to problems. She is detail-oriented; I’m a big-picture guy.
But we do share common ground in at least one important area: we’ve both worked hard to put a worthwhile weekly arts and recreation newspaper on the streets of our territory.
And, occasional snafu aside, I don’t think we’ve done too badly.
Together, we came up with the idea for my all-time favourite What’s Up Yukon cover — the hairy belly on the front of the Men’s Issue in June 2013.
High school students taped it to their shirts, office workers tacked it to their bulletin boards, and our email inboxes flooded with comments and kudos. True, at least one proprietor refused to display our navel-gazing cover, but what is a little audacity without some controversy to match, right?
But now my partner-in-crime is going missing-in-action, leaving a vacancy in the editor position — a vacancy to be filled by yours truly.
Taking over the editorship of What’s Up Yukon fills me with a variety of emotions. I’m excited, first of all. I’m also nostalgic in a full-circle sort of way, because it was in these very pages that then-editor Darrell Hookey gave me my start as a columnist, in November 2008.
Beyond that, I’m honoured that Tammy and Mark Beese have chosen me to carry on the campaign. Dedicating one’s time, effort, and capital to a small business takes courage and faith. That the Beeses have subsequently put their faith in me is humbling. Be assured Tammy and Mark, I don’t take the job lightly.
Most of all though, I’m filled with a sense of obligation. Watching Tamara’s commitment to professionalism has inspired me over the last year-and-a-half, but now I feel somewhat daunted; I’ve got to forge on the without her.
So, starting Monday, I’ll be setting my alarm early, and going about the business of filling big shoes.
It should be an adventure.