It's about that time - Shawn Loughlin editorial
For the last 11 years, I have been lucky to be just down the hall from one of the most wise men I have come to know in my 35 years on the planet. Keith Roulston, as many of you know, has now shifted into full retirement (although we have convinced him to keep writing for us for the time being).
Yes, I’ve been lucky enough to learn from one of the most well-respected members of the industry across this country for over a decade and it has been great. Keith and I had lunch a few weeks ago – in preparation for this day – and, after some catching up, his first words to me were that I had come a long way. He’s right, I have come a long way. And that’s not patting myself on the back, it’s just the truth and it’s largely thanks to him.
When I started with The Citizen, I was young and didn’t know much about anything. I was also from the Toronto area and didn’t know anything about the area. There was a definite learning curve, but Keith was always patient with me and helped me to get better when there were shortcomings, rather than berating me for making a mistake.
When long-time editor Bonnie Gropp left, I doubt I was the first person Keith thought of to continue the legacy of the newspaper he, his wife Jill and community member Sheila Richards founded in the 1980s, but he worked with me and had faith in me. Now, with numerous awards under our belts (including that “Best in Canada” one we may have mentioned before), things seem to be working out with the team The Citizen has in place.
I have learned plenty from Keith over the years. He has taught me countless things about reporting and journalism that you simply don’t learn in school. You have to learn it on the streets, as they say.
Keith went to Ryerson University to learn his trade and then came to Huron County, where he worked at the Clinton News Record, among other newspapers, before he and Jill struck out on their own and founded The Citizen out of the ashes of The Blyth Standard and The Brussels Post. They also founded The Rural Voice, a staple of agriculture in the region, and Stops Along The Way.
What always impressed me about Keith and Jill, however, was that with as much as they did here at the office to serve the community through The Citizen week after week, their service to the community was matched away from the newspaper as well.
Keith, of course, is one of the three founding members of the Blyth Festival (he was its General Manager for a number of years). He has written numerous plays that have been produced there, including some that have gone on to be produced all over the world. And he is still writing. Just recently he published In The Road, a serialized novel, on our website.
He also founded the Blyth Idea Group, which was a precursor to the modern-day BIA, and was the driving force behind the farmers’ market in Blyth. No doubt he and Jill have done a million things that were either before my time or that I don’t know about because they don’t herald their achievements.
Now, we’re hosting an open house on Saturday, Nov. 18. I hope many will attend to thank the Roulstons for all they’ve done for this community. Personally, I want to thank Keith and Jill for all they’ve done for me. I went from a city boy who wore soccer shirts and flip-flops to work (I still wear those things on the street) to the editor of an award-winning media outlet who owns a home in Blyth and is now married and looking to start a family here in Huron County. A long way, indeed.