Starting a new role is always an adventure, particularly in newspapers.
As the new editor of the Saint Albans Messenger, this will be the third news group that I’ve become a part of, and the second in Vermont. After graduating from the University of Maine with a bachelor’s in journalism, I began my career as an assistant editor in Claremont, New Hampshire, and quickly found myself in the managing editor role.
Claremont is located right on the Connecticut River, and that newspaper had readership in Windsor County, Vermont. Vermont made a strong impression on me, and when the Rutland Herald contacted me about an editorial position, I was eager to take it.
I have found Vermont communities to be very open, and Vermonters are always willing to lend a hand to those in need. After a brief sabbatical in Maine, my partner and I couldn’t help but turn our eyes back to the Green Mountain State.
I have landed in a handful of communities at this point, each with its own flavor. One thing that I can say after my first full week physically working in St. Albans, is that this community has a lot going for it. After working remotely from our home in Maine the first couple weeks, my partner and I — along with our two four-legged furry friends — landed at a temporary rental location in the city and have been venturing into the community in the days since.
While this profession involves constant communication with community leaders, government officials and businesses, it really is the candid, on-the-street interactions that, for me at least, provide the best sense of what a particular community is like. My partner and I had a great discussion with a clerk at Rail City Market about local eateries and Vermont food culture. We are regular runners, and have found a few neighborhood loops that we run in the morning. Whether it be residents out on the porch or people on the sidewalk, we are never far from a “hello” or “good morning.”
The infrastructure here is also a great indicator of the personal investment community members have in the city and surrounding area. Wherever you look, whether it be the sidewalks in town or the beautiful parks and gathering spaces, there is evidence of the willingness of the community to invest in the future. And with potential future investments in Kingman Street beautification and a city pool, there is great opportunity for that positive momentum to continue.
While I admittedly haven’t ventured far out of the city at this point, I expect I will be just as optimistic, having heard of similar investments going on in surrounding communities such as Swanton and Enosburgh. While every county has its urban center, the character and culture of its smaller towns is just as crucial to painting a portrait of the community — a portrait that we must reflect as the community’s newspaper.
Good reporting has the power to inspire change. It is both a reflection of the community and a spur to promote discourse that can change it for the better. It is this mission that inspires me, and as editor, I aim to utilize balanced, accurate reporting to benefit the Franklin County community. This includes being a part of that community, and I aim to be a regular presence at community events. I welcome input — positive and critical — from our readers, and hope to hear from you and talk to you to imporve our service to you moving forward.
There is a lot going on in the world right now — from Franklin County right up through happenings in Washington, D.C. Those happenings extend to newspapers, and the Messenger is no exception. The recently announced switch to twice-weekly publication has been made with you — the reader — in mind, with an aim to provide a much more well-rounded and diverse product with content that better reflects local issues and interests. Watch this space for more on that next week.
In the meantime, my partner and I thank the community for welcoming us. I look forward to serving you, and am excited to be a part of this community as we shake off the webs of 2020 and continue to build toward a better future.
Cameron Paquette is the editor of the St. Albans Messenger, and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org