PROFILE PHOTO COURTESY OF KIMBERLEY KUFAAS PHOTOGRAPHY Tyson’s Thoughts is a weekly column posted every Thursday at northislandgazette.com and in print the following Wednesday. Have some thoughts about my thoughts? Email editor@northislandgazette.com

Tyson’s Thoughts: It’s my four-year anniversary at the Gazette

I went from driving a forklift in a warehouse to an award-winning journalist in just a few years.

It’s kind of a funny story, but not really at the same time. I’m going to tell it anyways.

When I was a kid all I ever dreamed about was becoming a famous writer. I used to create nonstop every chance I got. You can ask my mom, she’ll gladly verify that statement. You can ask my dad, he’ll grumble a verification as well.

Looking back, I believe I started writing when I was in Grade Two at Eagle View Elementary School. I first started out making comics with my buddy Jon, but as I got older I started writing short stories, novels, poetry, fake newspapers (The Tyson Chronicle), screenplays, plays, you name it and I wrote it (I also loved to draw and play sports, but those passions have always taken a backseat to the written word).

Now I’m fairly well known across Vancouver Island thanks to my articles being shared online, I’ve been nominated and won a few important journalism awards, and I get stopped everywhere I go in my hometown (more on that later).

It trips me out to think how I went from driving a forklift in a warehouse to being an award-winning journalist in the span of just a few years.

Let’s stop right there and think about that for a second.

I literally went from a career in shipping and receiving to becoming a public figure, pretty much overnight. It was definitely a tough transition for me to make as I’m a fairly private person, but when I set my mind to something, I do it. I don’t let anyone or anything stop me.

To put it bluntly, I knew I was destined for more than driving a forklift (I graduated from Vancouver Island University with a Bachelors Degree in Writing). While it definitely took time to finally happen (13 years or so after graduating high school), I always knew in the back of my mind that words always made sense to me and I would one day get paid to create sentences that people would actually want to read.

You might be wondering why I’m writing about this subject. Well, it was my four year anniversary at the North Island Gazette last Tuesday (Nov. 12) and I thought that the milestone would make for an appropriate time to reflect on my journalism career so far.

Like any journalist I’ve had good and bad days. I’ve been pushed to the breaking point numerous times where I’ve wanted to quit, but I’ve always persevered and kept fighting for the truth, even when people wanted to stifle me.

That’s what being a good journalist is all about. Sticking to your guns and fighting to find the truth of the matter, no matter what the potential outcome could be.

With that out of the way, I have a few thank you’s I’d like to get out.

My parents for always pushing me scholastically. I remember I wanted to drop out of university more than a few times, and they always told me to just stick it out and finish my degree. I did what they said and it eventually paid off.

My best friend B.P. who’s always been there to knock me down a peg or two when he feels like I’m being a jerk. We’ve been through so much crap over the years, but inevitably we always reconnect and our ‘bromance’ has remained strong since grade six when we used to hangout at recess and cause trouble.

Catherina for being my biggest fan. You told me I was too talented to waste my time not being a writer, and I listened to you.

And to everyone who reads the paper every week and has supported me over the past four-years, thank you so much. It truly means the world to me, and I want you to know that I don’t take what I do for granted.

Delivering accurate and interesting news stories to the local communities in a timely manner is very important, and it’s something I’ve always strived to do from the very first day I stepped foot inside the North Island Gazette office.

Anyways, I’m not sure what 2020 will have in store for me.

Maybe I’ll continue to be a journalist and keep trying to win awards? Maybe I’ll decide I don’t want to be a journalist anymore? Maybe I’ll go back to a quiet life of driving a forklift? Maybe I’ll become a filmmaker? Maybe I’ll go and finish my education and become a teacher?

Life has never been a straight line from A to B for me.

I’ve always done whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, because life’s too short to not shoot for the stars.

Tyson Whitney is an award-winning journalist who was born and raised in Port Hardy. His family has lived in Port Hardy for more than 40 years. He graduated with a degree in writing from Vancouver Island University in 2008. Email: editor@northislandgazette.com

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