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

Tyson’s Thoughts: Newspaper excellence

This year, I know in my heart I earned the nomination.

I’ve got no time to waste today, let’s get right down to business and knock some thoughts out of the park.

I’m incredibly proud that the North Island Gazette has been nominated for newspaper excellence for the second year in a row.

Last year when we were nominated I was so shocked I almost couldn’t believe that it was actually true.

I had just started to take over the reigns of the very newspaper I grew up reading, and to be recognized for all the hard work and effort I’d put in, it was a bit mind blowing.

I certainly didn’t expect it, nor did I really think I deserved it, as I felt I struggled for a good part of the year and didn’t really hit my stride until the late summer.

I think the turning point for me that I knew I was doing a good job was when Ian Roberts complimented how good the paper’s layout was looking. Thanks for the support, Ian!

Regardless of whether I feel I deserved to be nominated or not, finishing in third place last year was a pretty cool feeling.

This year, I know in my heart I earned it.

I went through hell and back in 2018 and really honed my craft every chance I got. I covered tough stories no one else wanted to touch, like the RCMP shooting death of James Hayward, and I produced a ton of videos and more online content for the Gazette’s readership to enjoy.

As for being nominated, above all else, I have to thank my high school journalism teacher Norm Prince. He was the first person to teach me all of the skills that I still use to this day, and he was always proud of my writing even when I wasn’t.

Also, I want to give a shoutout to J.R. Rardon for giving me five years worth of excellent North Island Gazette coverage to study and learn from, as well as Alistair Taylor at the Campbell River Mirror for giving me a quick 30 minute tutorial on InDesign.

Finally, I want to say thank you to Catherina.

I used to write a lot in my spare time, but never showed it to anyone. She saw my talent and told me to go do more with my life when I was aimlessly driving a forklift in a warehouse. Now I get paid to write for a living instead of breaking my back lifting boxes.

Thanks, Kat. We may go through periods of not talking, then reunite and start talking again, but you’ll always be my favourite person.

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:


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