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Columnists

Columnists

by Kelly Waterhouse

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nine years since David Meyer and I met up at the Elora post office, by chance, and got talking about the goings-on in town.

We knew each other as fellow reporters (I freelanced for the Fergus Elora News Express), but we respected each other as writers, because both of us had the unique opportunity to be columnists, with very different writing styles. But I had taken a hiatus from writing for an extended period and Meyer, never shy on opinions, felt it was time I get back to it. He suggested I contact David Adsett to see if there was a place for me at the Wellington Advertiser.

Getting a nod from Meyer is no easy feat. I knew that. It took me about a month to summon up the courage to write a pitch letter to Adsett. We had never met. How was I going to sell him a humour column about motherhood, marriage and the daily observations of life when he ran a newspaper that went county-wide, was renowned for political coverage and police stories, and featured an all-male editorial team?

Yet I knew the Wellington Advertiser was also about community. Between the hard news were the stories of us, the faces and places that call Wellington County home. From the coverage of school events and sports teams to service clubs, fundraisers and neighbourhood gatherings; this was exactly the place for my column.

Almost a decade later, Write Out of Her Mind has secured a weekly spot in the pages of the Advertiser and a dedicated following.

It’s not something I take for granted. David Adsett took a chance on me and has stuck by me, even when my career took unexpected turns. It’s a great honour to be a part of a community newspaper that is truly about family – my career here proves that.

And from time to time, Meyer drops me a note to let me know if I’ve hit the mark. That still matters, too.  

Giving columnists a platform is an important part of the Wellington Advertiser’s history, back to the days when Bill gave many writers their first opportunity to be published.  

It was a time before the internet, when many popular columns were syndicated. That’s how successful writers made their living and gained a fan base. But it didn’t leave much space on the page for emerging writers. Getting published was a challenge, particularly for those far from urban centers.

But Bill Adsett believed in local voices and commentary on a variety of issues that would be relevant to readers of his newspaper. He also believed in building relationships. Thanks to this, many writers not only got their start in the pages of the Advertiser, but went on to enjoy successful writing careers and a dedicated audience in the pages of the newspaper.  

One columnist people will fondly remember was Allan Argue. He was an active member of community theatre, a performer, playwright and author. He believed theatre was an integral part of a healthy community. He approached Bill about doing a section each week on the arts and what was happening in Wellington County. It didn’t take long for that one-page synopsis to grow into a two-page spread covering each corner of the county.

Readers enjoyed Allan’s play reviews. He brought a degree of authority to the subject and his passion came through with every word.

Readers have enjoyed the diversity of columnists published in the pages of the Wellington Advertiser over the years.

Columnists like Rodger Holmes, Bruce Whitestone and Barrie Hopkins became household names across Wellington County. Many others would follow in their footsteps and go on to pursue successful writing careers.  

The Wellington Advertiser was a good place to start.

April 13, 2018

 
 

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