For a long time people in the north have been asking for more coverage of events in their communities—whether municipal officials, community leaders or your average reader, the message has been clear: we need a reporter in Masset.
We listened, and this week we’re very happy to welcome Andrew Hudson to our team.
Mr. Hudson got his start reporting for community newspapers in Smithers and Houston, B.C. — a far cry from his flat and marshy hometown of Stittsville, Ontario.
Most recently, Mr. Hudson comes to the Haida Gwaii Observer after nearly three years at the Beach Metro News, an independent, non-profit newspaper that is delivered door-to-door by some 200 volunteers in Toronto’s East End.
Besides hard-news stories that included three elections, a condo boom and major changes in Toronto public schools, working for a small community paper meant Mr. Hudson got to meet many people with stories that don’t always grab headlines — a quiet, 91-year-old painter who his neighbours named a street after, or a family who invited all their former sponsors to a thank-you dinner after fleeing Vietnam 30 years ago as refugees.
Despite a year of hands-on training with the working journalists who teach at Vancouver’s Langara College, never mind his degree in English literature and political science, Mr. Hudson was totally unprepared for his most memorable day as a reporter so far.
One cold day in February, a hot tip from a grocery clerk led Mr. Hudson to flag down an angry land owner and then ski through the bush to the site of a train wreck where 54 coal cars had overturned. No one was injured, and the spill was found not to have harmed the nearby creek, but the crash and the $1 million-a-day hold-up it caused on the rail line was a Houston Today exclusive.
All his editor wanted to know when he got back was why he had neglected to get an aerial shot from a helicopter, as she had done 20 years before for the price of a bag of her garden-grown carrots.
Hudson was drawn to Haida Gwaii mainly by a series of excited text messages from his partner, who worked here for three months last summer as part of her training in healthcare.
“We are moving here,” read one text, sent between photos of Tlell goats, North Beach surf, and freshly picked chanterelles.
“Need better rain gear.”
Welcome to you both. Mr. Hudson will be based exclusively out of Masset. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org