Echo editor passes the torch 0
After 24 years at the Haliburton County Echo - 20 of them as editor - Martha Perkins has announced that she and her better half are moving to Vancouver.
"This is such an emotional time for me," she says. "I'm very excited about our new life in British Columbia but incredibly sad about all the people we must say goodbye to in Haliburton County."
She has accepted the job as editor of the Bowen Island Undercurrent, a weekly newspaper that's a 20-minute ferry ride from the north shore of Vancouver.
"In many ways it will feel like I'm not leaving Haliburton," she says. "Bowen Island is not only like Haliburton in appearance - apart from the fact that everything's mountainous - but it also is made from a similar social fabric."
Jenn Watt, a reporter who's been with the Echo and Minden Times since October 2007, will become the papers' new editor on November 2.
"It's so reassuring to be able to 'pass the torch' to Jenn," Perkins says. "We couldn't have found a better editor and she's already a part of the community. Jenn has already impressed readers of both papers with her writing skills. Here at the Echo we know her as being a person with a tremendous heart. She balances a commitment for good journalism with a compassion for and understanding of the people she's writing about."
Perkins grew up in Lindsay and got her journalism start as a summer reporter at the Lindsay Post while getting her journalism degree from what was then Ryerson Polytechnical Institute. In August of 1985, she approached then-owner and editor Len Pizzey about a full-time job at the Echo. He hired her and four years later appointed her as editor so he could concentrate on the business and publishing side of the paper that was gradually adding other publications to its annual roster - Summer Guide, Winter Guide, Fall Tour, Cottage Times (which was called County Life), the Home and Cottage Services Directory and Senior Life. In 2000, when Pizzey bought the Minden Times from long-time owner Jack Brezina, Perkins became managing editor of both newspapers. Two years ago, she also became managing editor of Barry's Bay This Week and Bancroft This Week, two responsibilities that are also being passed on to Watt.
Over the years, Perkins has won more than 60 national and provincial writing and photography awards through the Canadian and Ontario Community Newspaper Association. The papers and its team of writers, photographers, graphic designers and sales staff added dozens more awards to the walls of the Echo and Times. Both papers have frequently been judged among the top three community newspapers in Ontario and Canada.
In 2004 she was presented with a Queen's Jubilee award for her work at the paper.
"It's a legacy that I'm immensely proud of and one that I know will be continued for years to come," she says.