Why I’m leaving

As many of you already know, this is my last week at The Reporter.

Since I’ve been a part of this newsroom for nearly a decade – which extends to almost a dozen years when my previous stint from 1999-2001 is factored in – it goes without saying that this is not a decision that I’ve made lightly.

While I have always strived to deliver the highest quality of work in any capacity of my job, it has become clear over the past six months in particular that this particular branch of the media is not the place for me to hang my hat, at least not in the foreseeable future. I arrived at this conclusion after considerable thought, prayer, and consultation with my family, close friends, work colleagues and professionals in various fields, not to mention a few sleepless nights.

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That being said, there are a few things that I need to make crystal-clear as Cathy and I prepare for a major change in our lives, both professionally and personally.

First of all, since I just mentioned my beautiful wife (this column is actually reaching newsstands on our ninth wedding anniversary), I should make it clear that she is completely behind me in this decision. As the person who has seen how this job has impacted me over the past decade, and particularly in recent years, her support has been unwavering and I could not have even come close to making this crucial change without her.

Along the same lines, in case some of you are wondering: We’re not leaving Port Hawkesbury. We have enjoyed being homeowners here for the past three and a half years, and we still feel this is the right time for us to be in this particular community. We’re both seeking new ways to contribute to and invest in the town’s future, and we’re very excited about the opportunities that lie before us in this regard.

In a similar vein, I can’t stress enough that my colleagues at The Reporter and our parent company, Advocate Media, have been nothing but understanding and helpful in the run-up to this departure. I have certainly not sought any preferential treatment, perks or disproportionate leeway from my co-workers, and I have greatly appreciated their willingness to share the load, talk things through and simply be friends during the entire time I have been here and especially in the six-month run-up to my final week. I will be forever grateful for the professionalism and compassion they have shown me as I have weighed the options for my immediate professional future.

As readers of both this column and my work in The Reporter, you deserve to know the truth about my departure. To that end, I can guarantee you that it is my choice to leave at this time, and that I am not ending my time here because the quality of my work or my ability to maintain that quality has declined.

I do feel, however, that because of the combination of a variety of factors – some of which I will happily share with those who may ask, and others which I feel are best left as private matters – I am unconvinced that I can continue to maintain the pace of this position, nor the passion that I have poured into it over the past decade. With this in mind, I think it best to leave this office at a high point in my personal and professional life, rather than run the risk of letting any of you – or any of my Reporter colleagues – down with inferior reporting, photography or commentary.

During my 17 years of full-time media work, I have often seen the courage shown by those who recognize the right time to exit public life and start a new chapter in their own lives. Similarly, I have seen many examples of those who stubbornly cling to a position out of the misguided belief that only they are still capable of serving in it, rather than stepping aside to welcome fresh ideas and perspectives. I shudder at the thought of landing in the latter category as opposed to the former, and I look forward to seeing the new perspectives and approaches to be offered at The Reporter as a result of my departure.

Now, I won’t be completely out of the game; you will still see (and hear) my byline on a freelance basis in the months to come. From a full-time perspective, however, I know this is my time to leave.

I also know there are aspects of this work that I treasure and will miss. I’ll talk about that next week.

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Adam Cooke has been a staff writer and columnist for The Reporter since 1999. A native of L’Ardoise, Adam lives in Port Hawkesbury with his wife Cathy.