Column: A thank you to journalism

Chilliwack Progress education reporter Katie Bartel says goodbye to Chilliwack and journalism.

Katie Bartel prepares for take off with Super Dave Osborne – just one of the memorable moments that a career in journalism has brought.

Katie Bartel prepares for take off with Super Dave Osborne – just one of the memorable moments that a career in journalism has brought.

This is a career I never imagined I’d be leaving.

Long before I can remember, I’ve been telling people I was going to be a writer, an author, a storyteller. On my 14th birthday, 22 years ago, a passion for journalism, beyond sharing the daily with my pops every morning, was ignited.

It wasn’t a discovery of Edward R. Murrow, or Rick Bragg, or even B.C.’s own Ma Murray; all of whom I did later realize and love.

It was a horoscope.

My birthday horoscope.

In it, I was told that not only did I share a birthday with Mark Wahlberg (sigh) but that my love for words was destined for the world of journalism.

I ran with it.

For more than 11 years, almost nine years to the day spent in Chilliwack, I’ve been paid to be nosy.

It’s been an incredible career.

I’ve been granted the key to so many opportunities that most others wouldn’t have the chance to do.

In the name of journalism, I’ve flown over the valley in a blimp, I’ve seen my life flash before my eyes in the passenger seat of a stunt plane, I’ve shakily shot a would-be thug in the knees, then chest, in a cop-training simulation, relived prom, managed to piss off F-bomb dropping Denis Leary before I even got on the phone with him, which, truthfully, was really kind of awesome.

In the name of journalism, I’ve been charmed by a sweet-talking 92-year-old ice skater, and blown away by an 89-year-old granny dancing a jig as though she were 20. I’ve had my love of ice cream indulged like clockwork every summer. I’ve been invited into old heritage homes, a beautifully lit backyard printing press, and the Minnesota Twins locker room.


In the name of journalism, I have met some of the most incredible, inspiring, heart-warming and heart-breaking personalities. They are not celebrities; most are barely known in their own communities. But through my written word, and this here newsprint, I have shared their stories.

I’ve introduced you to a young woman just days after she was buried in her basement bedroom by a vicious tornado of mud; an elderly couple who watched in daily fear as their house on Marble Hill shifted down the hill; a retired navy seaman, who for 10 years faithfully pinned poppies onto others before suffering a massive heart attack on his beloved Remembrance Day.

I’ve shown you the greatness that Chilliwack’s youth behold – a Grade 9 A.D. Rundle student fighting for his right to drink pop on school grounds; a Grade 12 budding chef determined to knock the socks off the judges of an Iron Chef style competition with his chicken and chorizo; a group of high school students starting a breakfast club for their peers who didn’t have the means for daily nutrition.

I’ve also enlightened you to the struggles many of Chilliwack’s youth face – aboriginal students struggling through mainstream education; teenagers couch surfing, some living on the streets because home is not safe; teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues.

All in the name of journalism.

In the name of journalism, I met my husband.

In the name of journalism, I became a competitive, long-distance runner.

In the name of journalism, I made some of my dearest friendships.

In the name of journalism, I lived my dreams.

But now is a time for new dreams.

Next week is my last week as an actively employed journalist. After years of covering education, I will once again become the student on a journey towards becoming a registered dietitian.

It was not an easy decision to make, and there were many factors that went into it: the long commute, the state of the industry, my child, etc., etc.. But know this, my love for a being a storyteller, was not one of them.

Thank you journalism.

Just Posted

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of June 13

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Madalyn Clempson, 18, of Chilliwack sings ‘Hiney Yamin Ba-im.’ She won the Intermediate Vocal Canadian Music award at the Performing Arts BC Virtual Provincial Festival. (YouTube)
Chilliwack youth bring home awards from provincial performing arts festival

Chilliwack’s 18-year-old Madalyn Clempson ‘a bit stunned’ to have won Intermediate Vocal Canadian Music

These three kittens, seen here on Thursday, June 10, 2021, are just some of many up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Three kittens at the Chilliwack SPCA

Kittens were in ‘rough shape’ when they came into the Chilliwack SPCA, now ready for adoption

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Chilliwack family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read