This is your paper

I shall, from time to time, give to the readers of What’s Up Yukon information about the state of this arts and recreation paper.

This lead paragraph was ripped off from Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution because I feel such an examination of the stories we bring to readers is just as noble as keeping a democracy on a clear, checked path.

Indeed, with 36 active writers covering such diverse subjects – from astronomy to gay issues, and from fitness to life in the rural communities – What’s Up Yukon is the paper that the community wants it to be.

If someone is passionate about butterfly collecting, and I believe there are enough people out there who either are or may become interested, then I will help them put their words onto the page.

As organic as this process is, it does take the hand of an editor to ensure that the silent majority is getting their stories, too.

So, flipping through the Feb. 18 issue of What’s Up Yukon, I was pleased to see we had stories on the visual arts on Pages 2 and 15, Yukon history on Pages 5 and 11, music on Page 13, dance on Page 18 and theatre on Page 19.

Sprinkled between these stories were humour columns, a wine column, fiction, a poem and fundraising events.

If we had a story on Yukon film and Jessica Simon’s literary column, it would have been the perfect paper … as perfect as the Feb. 11 issue.

That sounds conceited, I know, but editors have to look at the “package” they produce and find the right balance.

There is one area of coverage that I am disappointed with, and another area that I am very disappointed with: I would love to have a columnist who covers Yukon film.

There are so many exciting things happening here since film-making has become more and more accessible and there is tons of support from the Yukon Film Society and the Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture.

To be honest, I haven’t tried that hard to find someone. Often, new writers approach me, and I guess I just have too much faith that the right person will come along.

When I have sought out writers for a particular beat to cover, only 10 per cent of them will write more than one column. The ones who “have legs” are those who have approached me because they are passionate about a topic.

What makes me a very disappointed editor, is my success rate with music columnists. And it is a problem that is thrown into sharp relief by the overwhelming success of our visual arts coverage.

With Nicole Bauberger (an Original 12 member) and Sarah Lindstein on the beat, they have the art galleries and coffee shops covered.

I wish I had a Nicole and a Sarah for music. Unfortunately, approaching musicians and other writers has met with limited success. Until someone with a passion for music approaches me to become a writer, music stories will be handled as general assignments.

Yet we have enough music bursting out of Coasters, The Capital, the Golden Apple and the Yukon Convention Centre to keep two music columnists very busy.

Are you a Yukon musician or a music enthusiast? Do you have a working knowledge of the English language and are willing to work with me to improve your writing skills? Then please give me a call and I’ll buy you a coffee.

Meanwhile, I declare that the state of this arts and recreation paper is spotted, but earnest and strong.

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