Jackie Jardine is hanging up her newspaper editor’s hat after 11 years at the helm of the Advocate.
Jardine recently made the decision to retire so she can spend more time with her family. She originally joined the Advocate in 1988 as a reporter, leaving a year later for another gig. But, she returned as editor in 2010 and held the chair ever since.
“It’s really come full circle for me,” said Jardine, from her Pictou County home. “I’ve spent 25 years in this business and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I look back to all the homes I’ve been in and the stories I’ve shared, and that’s a privilege you have by being a representative of your community newspaper.”
During her time with the newspaper, whether as reporter or an editor, Jardine knew the importance of being in the community.
“When you’re out and you have people shopping beside you who know who you are and know they can talk to you, that’s important. Sometimes it can be seen as an intrusion, but if you’re not in the community, you don’t have people’s trust. Your community has to trust you as a journalist and have trust in the paper.”
She said it’s also important to be not just involved in the community, but supporting it as well.
“It’s also important to show the community their newspaper is interested in their group and what they do. You have to be working alongside them. That was important to me.”
Over the years, many people have approached Jardine in the community with comment about remembering the story she had written on them years prior. “For somebody to say, ‘I remember when…’, that’s something as a journalist you can’t take for granted. To you, you may just be doing your job, but to somebody else it makes a world of difference. It’s been a privilege to be part of that.”
It’s also a privilege, she says, to have a “front row seat” to historical events in the community. During her interview for the Advocate, Jardine and her husband were watching Gov. Gen. Mary Simon attend the Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa.
“As we sit here, we have the Governor General of Canada as somebody we know personally,” she said.
Throughout her journalistic career, Jardine has written a countless number of stories, but there are a few with personal connections that stick out in her mind, including a fire at Nova Forge in 2012 when her father was working a crane and was probably the closest to the inferno. She didn’t learn until later in the day her father had been working at the time, and he agreed to have her interview him about the experience.
“That was one of my most proud and favourite stories,” she said.
The 25th anniversary of the Westray mining disaster is another highlight, as it gave Jardine an opportunity to recall working out of the command centre as a reporter of the day. Her body of work on the anniversary, which included stories of her husband’s family owning a hotel where the draggermen stayed, a friend working in the mine where his brother perished, and another friend who operated the private ambulance service at the time, was nominated for a Canadian Community Newspaper Award.
“To be validated nationally for your body of work, it really felt deserving,” said Jardine, who also received a Silver Quill award at the same time as Advocate reporter Steve Goodwin.
It was also a feature on Trailblazers for African Heritage Month and an exclusive interview with the mother of Amber Kirwan, who was reported missing and whose body was found later, that will also stick with her during her retirement.
“The stories that mean the most to me are those with personal connections, but it’s always meant a lot to me that people have been so welcoming of me into their home, and, in some cases, to their innermost thoughts.”