Alex Cooper is the new editor the Arrow Lakes News.

Alex Cooper is the new editor the Arrow Lakes News.

A trip down the Arrow Lakes

The new Arrow Lakes News editor Alex Cooper is in Nakusp after 4.5 years reporting in Revelstoke.

The first time I heard of Nakusp was in a quiz while I was in journalism school at Humber College in Toronto. The question was to find out how far it was from Nelson to Nakusp by road and as the bird flew. Since we had access to computers for the quiz, it was an easy question, but the name Nakusp stuck in my head. I didn’t ever imagine that I would eventually become the editor of the town’s newspaper.

I took that quiz in the fall of 2007. Here we are in January 2014 and I’m busy putting my first issue of the Arrow Lakes News to press. It’s not my first encounter with the paper; as a reporter for the last 4.5 years in Revelstoke, I’ve had my byline in this paper several times and even came down once to cover the Nakusp Music Festival when the reporter at the time quit days before. I checked out the bands, wandered through the town, relaxed on the beach, went for a swim, had dinner at the Kuskanax Hotel and watched Kevin Costner perform under a full moon.

I moved to Revelstoke in September 2009 when, after graduating from journalism school in Toronto, I decided that if I couldn’t get a job at a major daily, I would try to get a job in a ski town, since it is one of my biggest passions. I thought I’d stay for a year and then move back to the city.

Then I bought another season pass. And a mountain bike. And some touring skis. And some rock climbing equipment. And more and more camping gear.

Next thing I knew, I had a garage full of toys and I realized I really like the mountain lifestyle. The job didn’t pay well and it could be hard at times, but I could take mornings off to go skiing and head out mountain biking after work in the summer. I could go for lunch at a local café or for a beer at the pub and be guaranteed to run into people I know.

When word came up to Revelstoke that Claire was leaving for the big city of Montreal (my hometown), I was offered the job here. After 4.5 years of reporting in Revelstoke, I figured it was time for a new challenge, so here I am. I will be the editor of the newspaper until she returns next year – that’s if I don’t want to stick around. I will be spending most of the week in Nakusp, but I am keeping a foothold in Revelstoke, where I still have some responsibilities (and a season pass).

What do I know about Nakusp? Not too much, to be honest. I know it’s a beautiful and quiet small town. I’m doing my best to get up to speed on the issues facing the community – the economic, social and environmental challenges – and to find out about the people who make Nakusp work.

As a journalist, I like reporting on hard news and I do my best to go in depth on important issues facing the community. I want to write about the people here – the business owners, artists, volunteers, community leaders and other characters that inhabit this area and make it what it is.

I love exploring the backcountry, whether on skis, bike or foot and I want to write about the nature that surrounds us and the opportunities for adventure in the area.

I also want to know what you want to read about. Come by the office or give me a call (778-206-0241) and let me know what you think of the paper. I’m new, so I’d like all the feedback you’re willing to give. If you think I’m doing a bad job, tell me and I’ll try to do better.

My biggest goal is to write articles that will make people want to pick up the Arrow Lakes News every week.

And if anyone wants to go ski touring or show me some of the local mountain biking trails, let me know.