Opinion: After nearly a decade in journalism, it’s time for a new challenge

Opinion: After nearly a decade in journalism, it's time for a new challenge

I can remember the very first day I started here at CHEK.

It was March 16, 2020, and everything was shutting down because of this strange new thing called the coronavirus.

I had just spent the morning in a nearby hotel listening to the governor of New York announce a massive lockdown in that state and it was pretty clear British Columbia was moving in the same direction — something they did days later.

When I walked into CHEK, the newsroom was mostly empty, with the exception of a few people, and no one knew what happening — I certainly didn’t — other than stories had to be filed and ready for the evening newscast. I left the newsroom that day thinking I would certainly be laid off the next day, if not within the coming weeks.

One thousand and three days later, many of them working remotely, I am still here, but not for much longer. Today is my last day at CHEK News.

After nearly 10 years as a full-time journalist and nearly three with CHEK, I’ve decided the time has come to say goodbye. I have accepted a position with Hockey Canada and will be starting with them next week — the 12-year-old inside me is screaming with excitement.

The decision to leave CHEK News wasn’t an easy one that happened overnight. For almost three years, I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside some of the most talented and nicest people I’ve ever met. I’ve been able to share stories that matter to people across Vancouver Island and I’ve been able to do that while working at such a unique and respected organization. It’s something I’ll always be grateful for.

But the question of whether to remain in journalism or leave the industry for something else is one I think many journalists are confronted with particularly in their late 20s or 30s. At 33, it felt right for me to move on and try something new.

I began my journalism career full-time in 2013 after interning at the North Shore News and then working a few jobs in communications in Toronto.

In 2013, I moved to B.C. full-time and joined the Nanaimo News Bulletin as an arts and entertainment reporter. I didn’t think I’d be around longer than three months but I ended up staying at the paper for six years and covering politics and so much more before winding up at CHEK.

In those nine years, I’ve had the honour of interviewing people I never ever imagined would give me the time of day — Steve Martin and Akon come to mind — and the privilege of sharing some incredible stories of personal sacrifice and survival.

I have been fortunate enough to write some incredibly impactful stories — the Airbnb series, Nanaimo city hall coverage, and some pieces on COVID come to mind — and appear briefly on television.

I have experienced things most people outside of journalism never get to — I always loved being sent to budget lockups and getting to go on tours of cool things like a cargo ship or airport —  and I am forever thankful for all of those experiences.

From filing FOIs to holding the government accountable to writing feature pieces, it has been an incredible run. And, while I am very proud of all that I’ve accomplished as a journalist over the years, the time has come to experience new things and challenges beyond the news media world.

I can’t wait.

Nicholas PescodNicholas Pescod

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