I started work at The Pilot around 1988. Hard to believe it was that long ago!
Primarily I worked the front desk and looked after the paper carriers. I would make the trek to Grand Falls every Wednesday morning with the ever-valuable disk containing the week's news. I'd arrive at the (Robinson-Blackmore) plant and they would say "The little one is here from The Pilot.” Shortly after that the presses would be running!
I would get a call around suppertime that the papers had arrived in Lewisporte from the plant in Grand Falls and I'd get on the phone and start calling the carriers. I was like a recording - The papers are in. Click. The papers are in. Click. Text messaging sure would have come in handy! I'd meet them at the office, make sure they had the appropriate bundles and send them on their way to make their deliveries.
We had correspondents from all over the bay that would write about the comings and goings in their communities, everything from church functions to birthday greetings to visitors from away. I was responsible for editing their copy.
Speaking of copy, I was so inexperienced that at first I didn't even know what copy was. I remember Barry Moores coming to me one day asking if I knew where the copy was for something or other. I made myself sound like I knew what he meant and then had to ask someone what copy was. I'm sure Barry could read the confused look on my face, but God love him for being so kind. I consider him to be one of my early mentors and I learned a lot from him.
It was Barry who actually allowed and encouraged me to write my column "Shelley Downton - On the Edge". I thoroughly enjoyed that. I've always had a love for writing, but the fact that someone actually thought my ramblings were fit to publish still amazes me. It was during my life at The Pilot that I got hitched. My new found husband thought I should change the name of my little column to "Shelley Coates - Over the Edge". I think not!
I was fortunate to work with a great bunch of people, some of whom are still around to this day in one capacity or another. Some of us keep in touch on social media and haven't seen each other in person for years. Others live close by and we see each other all the time. Either way, they are all dear to me. The work culture at our little paper seemed to foster those lasting relationships.
I guess it's farewell to The Pilot. In newsroom terms, that's -30- for now.
Shelley (Downton) Coates