Was just listening to Lucinda Chodan on CBC Radio talking about the Gazette’s new website design, when she mentioned the first website they had 19 years ago. It was almost with a jolt that I remembered that that initial site was put up by me, single-handed, in hand-coded HTML, just before the 1995 referendum.
I was never a permanent staffer at the paper. I picked up some work for a long defunct department called Gazette Info-Cable, which provided brief text headlines and précis of news for cable channel 9. I talked my way into the job after meeting a friend of a friend at a party: she ran the department, and when she described what they did I said “I could do that!”
Once there, I got some other odd bits of work at the paper, doing tech support for the newsroom, occasionally helping editors put the front page together. In 1995, only a few people at the paper were interested in the web, so when it came time to do a site, I did it. Referendum night I sat updating the numbers by hand as they came in.
There isn’t much else to tell. The owner of the Gazette at the time (I think it was Southam) soon decided to try to centralize all the “new media” stuff in Edmonton, and I declined to move there; two other people in the Info-Cable department went, and it turned out to be a fiasco, a dead end, and a wise decision not to go.
More ambitious people soon moved in on the Gazette’s own web presence and pushed me out; I had no relatives in the paper, where almost everyone under 50 was there because they had an older relative on staff sticking up for them. There were better things to do and places to be.