In the newspaper industry, there's an old phrase used to describe the people who remain passionate about the business, despite all the challenges and uncertainty.
They bleed ink.
There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears made of ink spilled late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning as The Citizen's press operators valiantly fought a losing battle to fix the press and print the Thursday edition. Their failure wasn't for a lack of effort, and the effort continued first thing Thursday, once a local machinist could be brought in to assist.
Behind the scenes, news editor Arthur Williams returned to his desk at 1 a.m. to post a short story to our website and share on social media that the press was down and the Thursday print edition would be delayed. I was up until 2:30 a.m. at my home computer, notifying local radio stations by email about our press issues and hoping they would let their listeners know once their live morning shows went on air at 6 a.m.
Publisher Colleen Sparrow barely slept.
She was at the press hall at 145 Brunswick until late, then she was home, making staff calls and preparing for the day ahead. She was back at the office before 6 a.m., sitting at a desk next to reader sales and service representative Wendy Collier, working the phones as subscribers began calling to ask where their morning paper was.
As the rest of the staff filtered in during the morning, the most heard questions of the morning were "What can I do?" and "How can I help?"
We're pretty used to big problems - both internal and external - at The Citizen. Each and every time, we come together to meet the challenge head on.
When an employee took his own life three days after 9/11, the staff came together through their shock and grief to get the next day's newspaper out on time.
When another employee was killed with his entire family in a horrific highway crash in the Cariboo seven years ago, Citizen staff worked through tears to publish the paper, with the story about Matt Altizer, his wife, his sister and his two children on the front page.
A few months after that, when the Lakeland Mills sawmill exploded, employees raced back to the office that same night to take pictures, cover the story and help in the late press run and delivery of the print edition.
Several staff members handed out copies to onlookers gathered in The Citizen parking lot.
The last time our 56-year-old press suffered a catastrophic breakdown was in 2008, due to an electrical issue. Citizen employees worked tirelessly to print two editions in black and white only, followed by one edition printed in Kamloops and trucked to Prince George to allow time for the defective circuit board to be fixed.
Those staff efforts during all of those trying times reminds us that The Citizen is more than a place to work for its employees.
We bleed ink, from Colleen through the management team to the unionized staff in every department. We're never perfect but we never stop trying to get there. When tragedy strikes - whatever it is - we work harder.
What's especially gratifying is that for so many of our readers what we do is more than produce a newspaper. The newspaper and its contents are an essential part of their day and for our print subscribers, it is something they welcome into their home five mornings a week.
We're sorry we didn't deliver Thursday.
Thanks for your patience, your ongoing support and the trust you have placed in us.
Please know that all of us here at The Citizen are proud to be your daily community newspaper and, no matter the challenge, we are working hard to serve you.
-- Editor-in-chief Neil Godbout