It was with some surprise and a pang of sadness that I learned of Bob Hall’s departure from the Nelson Star — and journalism.
As one of his former reporters and friend from the now-defunct Nelson Daily News, I had the privilege of working with him each day for more than two years. In fact, he was the only editor to have really given me a chance. He clearly cared enough because he offered me the job three times! Once here, Bob encouraged me to be the best reporter I could be. And on some days that meant writing five stories a day! He gave me sources, guidance, story ideas and helped me hone my skills as a journalist. Bob had the hard task of trimming my long stories down, teaching me some photography skills and to layout the business page (because I couldn’t screw up the business page!). He even took on a grouchy Vancouver Sun editor on my behalf.
One of the things I appreciated most about working with Bob was how he made me feel appreciated. At the end of each working day, he told me that I did a good job that day. No one had ever done that until I worked with Bob — nor have they since. For that and many other reasons, Bob is the best “boss” I have ever had and I looked up to him like I would an older brother. No surprise it took me six months to work up the courage to tell him I wanted to return to Vancouver.
While some people may wish Bob had been more forthcoming with his political opinions or be annoyed that he had any to begin with, the fact that he has held his cards so close to his chest for all these years despite living in a small town is testament to the priority Bob attaches to journalism ethics, accountability and standards, a passing “fad” in journalism these days. It is for that reason I am sad to see Bob leave because in today’s media climate, editors are more keen to ignore important stories unless someone has died. Bob tells the important stories before someone dies. He is a rare gem and a champion of your community. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be your reporter.
Good luck my friend and pseudo older brother.