Following a winding trail into your midst

Oak Bay News welcomes new editor who spent close to a quarter century at newspapers across the province

Dan Ebenal is the editor of the Oak Bay News.

Good morning Oak Bay. I’d like to introduce myself as the new editor of the newspaper I hope you will welcome into your home.

I arrive in your midst after following a trail for close to a quarter-century that led to newspapers scattered across the province. I left the beaches of Kitsilano that I had grown up up on to arrive literally at the end of the road.

For three years I called Kitimat home, a town of about 10,000 literally built by Alcan on B.C.’s north coast at the end of Highway 37. More than once I awoke to knee-deep snow hemming in my car. But with the help of well-equipped neighbours and a town rich with the tax dollars from an aluminum smelter, pulp mill and petro-chemical plant to purchase the best snow-clearing equipment I’ve ever laid eyes on, I never recall being overly delayed.

But the mere sight of roads lined with massive snow drifts accompanied by the -30 C winds that blew up the Douglas Channel in January had me packing my bags for the sunshine and vineyards of the Okanagan Valley.

I started at the Vernon Morning Star as a sports reporter and weekend photographer. That was before that digital age that had me spending Saturday mornings in the dark room developing photos from previous night’s hockey game. The air was always filled with suspense – well that and the vinegar smell that seemed to stick with you throughout the day – watching the print slowly develop to see if you actually had anything. Digital cameras and Photoshop are probably the biggest game changers I’ve seen to the industry in my career.

It was in Vernon where I learned probably 90 per cent of what I know today. At the hands of publisher Don Kendall and managing editor Glenn Mitchell, I learned that a newspaper can only be successful by responding to the needs of the community it serves. But it was from Mitchell’s brother, Kevin, that the most valuable lesson came. The longtime Morning Star sports editor’s demand for perfection remain with me to this day.

I moved from the sports arena to council chambers and the courthouse, covering crime in Vernon during one of the bloodiest times in the city’s history. After 13 years in Vernon I headed to the other end of Okanagan Lake in Penticton where I took over as editor of the Western News.

My seven years in the Peach City brought me a host of lifelong friends too numerous to mention. If there’s one piece of wisdom I hope has stuck with the reporters I worked with, it was to embrace your ignorance – to never walk away from an assignment without asking a question for fear of appearing stupid. It’s some advice I plan to adopt myself as a new arrival on an island that had been an unknown to me save for a few weekend visits.

While the Okanagan is a wonderful place to raise a family, children grow up, and mine moved on to Vancouver. My son Keith now works in Vancouver and my daughter Veronika is attending UBC. So I packed up and headed back to the coast. I spent close to a year at the Tri-City News, a paper serving the communities of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody. The majority of my time there was spent covering sports and Port Moody council and community issues.

After a year in the Lower Mainland I found I actually saw more of my kids when they were trapped with me for days at a time far from their friends and lure of the city nightlife. And what better method of trapping unsuspecting kids than the B.C. ferry system.

So I now find myself in your midst in probably the most beautiful area I’ve had the fortune to work. My wife Tracey will join me next month, along with our dog Marley and cat Kai (although I call him Monkey Boy).

So that’s my story. I hope you will share yours with me and I look forward to sharing those stories through the pages of the Oak Bay News.

Dan Ebenal is the editor of the Oak Bay News and probably the guy you’ll see trying to find his way around his new community.

 

Just Posted

Cyclist without helmet thrown onto windshield in Oak Bay

Despite damage to bike, cyclist uninjured following accident

Annual UVic Xmas tree sale goes on despite loss of beloved tree farmer

Mike Fleming of Saanichton Christmas Tree Farm partnered with students for annual fundraiser for nearly 20 years

Victoria tech companies donate record-breaking weight of food

VIATEC’s 16th annual food bank challenge raised $45,224.40 for Mustard Seed

City of Victoria responds to blind community’s B.C. Human Rights Tribunal case

The Canadian Federation of the Blind says bike lanes can be dangerous

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Omar Khadr to ask for Canadian passport to travel, permission to speak to sister

He spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was caught when he was 15

One of Tori Stafford’s killers transferred to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Military closes book on oft-criticized support unit for ill, injured troops

The transition unit will provide support and services to military members struggling with physical and mental injuries so they can return to work.

Vancouver Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson named NHL’s first star of the week

Canucks centre scored two goals and six assists in three games

Protester says Canada doing U.S. ‘dirty work’ outside Huawei exec’s bail hearing

The U.S. wants to extradite Meng to face fraud allegations after Canada arrested the high-profile technology executive.

Union says arrows and gasoline tossed at striking Comox Valley assisted living workers

BCGEU president Stephanie Smith says arrows and gasoline were thrown at the picketers early in the week

Most Read