Pat Healey is bringing The Laker News back in an online news website only. (Photo by Amy Holloway Photography)

One year ago, I was excited for QMJHL Deadline Day.

One year ago, I was happy to be back to work after a well-deserved and relaxing 20-day vacation for the Christmas holidays.

Sadly, one year ago also ended up being the most devastating day (prior to April 18/19) in my life when unexpectedly the job I had with The Weekly Press and The Laker was terminated. My employer, Advocate Media, decided to close both community newspapers, impacting our three staff members.

It hurt. It hurt a lot. A job I loved and had so much passion for was gone in a blink of an eye after a suddenly-called meeting in Dartmouth. I really knew nothing but reporting on the stories in our communities of East Hants, Beaver Bank and Fall River.

But one year ago, is also when the journey that is now The Laker News began.

While the papers were closed, I was given the Facebook pages/Twitter pages, and websites for both papers to make a go of it as a digital only news website, if I wanted too. It was something that had been in the back of my mind for a bit, but I had employment so never needed to give it more then a second thought.

As I was still hurting, feeling shocked at the news that had rocked my world and brought an end to 11 years covering the news as a reporter for The Weekly Press and The Laker, the wheels started moving as I read all the awesome, supportive comments on both FB and Twitter, and the many texts I received.

Even today, I am still incredibly grateful for Advocate Media for the last 11 years allowing me to do the job I love. I hold no ill will, and I hope they know that. They gave me an opportunity to do this job at my hometown paper.

But as they say when one door closes, another opens. Well, it certainly did, and I have not looked back. It’s almost like it was meant to be.

With the help of two investors, I rebranded as The Laker News, launching on March 30.

At the end of March 2020, we hit the website live as our own entity The Laker News, with me covering East Hants news in a small category section, while keeping both Facebook pages alive.

The support has been overwhelming, so much so I have had to find more ad space on the website to be able to get all of the ads in.

One year ago, the journey as The Laker News began. One year ago, my life changed.

While I was devastated initially, the more I look back the more it becomes clear that one year ago became almost like the best day of my life. It put me out as working for someone, and when I became my own boss.

I am proud of the journey that the past year and looking forward to the future.

It’s been a challenging road, especially given we opened during the COVID19 pandemic and the months of April and May, which I will never want to remember.

But one year ago, happened for a reason.

Thank you for your support. Here’s to a long future ahead of covering the community’s news!

  • Pat Healey, The Laker News