Love thy neighbouring newspaper

“Call me if you need a rescue. We live in the same city.”
“I think I live in a different world.”
-Almost Famous

There are a lot of things I really like about my job: I love the people I get to see, both every Monday and on other days of the week; I get paid to write on things I’m passionate about and feel need discussing; and it’s refreshing to have my name attached to something other than another shitty essay. Life as part of the Other Press is pretty great, but some of the shiniest parts of my time here have taken place while I wasn’t actually here—they happened while I was at NASH.

It’s a question the Other Press faces every year: how many people should we send to NASH? For a quick reminder, this is a national conference held every year for student journalists to convene, network, learn, and fun. The debate of how many people to send has to do with delegate fees, which can add up quickly when paired with accommodations. Stirring the complexity pot is the added note that the host city of NASH changes every year, oftentimes taking place in major Eastern Canadian cities. In conclusion, NASH is expensive.

One of the most valuable (and hardest to quantify) benefits to attending NASH are the contacts you make with other student newspapers. In case this doesn’t go without saying, developing relationships with other publications when you’re spread across the second largest country in the world is nearly impossible. Conferences like NASH are one of the only opportunities we get to meet people who are in the same situation as we are (advertising revenues being down, cost of printing going up) and we become a stronger publication because of it.

Of the things we brought back with us, I’m most excited about the relationships we formed—especially with the local flavours right here in the Lower Mainland. That’s right; the Other Press isn’t the only post-secondary publication in the whole world.

On our first night in Edmonton, we had the pleasure of meeting several key players from the Capilano Courier in North Van. We bonded over Gin Mountains, me fanboying over their newspaper, and a general consensus that our layout manager looks like Justin Timberlake (he totally does). From that night onwards, the relationship between our newspapers quickly reduced into a fierce rivalry, culminating in a six-song karaoke battle royale with multiple casualties—including my voice. It’s one of those rivalries you’re really glad to have, like how Superman is probably happy to have Kryptonite in his life because it keeps him from getting too comfortable.

Another dream team I’m excited for is with Simon Fraser University’s the Peak, a publication now home to former OP superstar Joel MacKenzie. As a student at SFU myself, I’m beyond excited to see these two worlds come together. It’s like a modern Romeo and Juliet, but instead of deep-rooted hatred between two families, we’re just two newspapers that didn’t really interact before.

It seems unusual that we had to fly to another city before we got to know our neighbours. Is this a commentary on how isolated organizations can be despite geographical proximities? Nah. It’s simply a reminder to keep our scopes fixed with a wide-lens and never lose sight of the bigger picture. I’d like to encourage everyone reading this to take a moment and think of a way you can further expand your day-to-day interactions. Is there a group of co-workers you don’t usually socialize with? A class where you normally don’t talk to anyone? Let’s collectively agree to high-jump out of that comfort zone and get to know the people in our lives. Of course there’s a chance you’ll discover they’re the worst and grow to disdain them; at the same time, you might just find a new person to sing Lionel Richie with.

So it goes,
Jacey Gibb