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Leo Paré

I’m leaving newspapers, but the ink stains linger

After 10-plus years in the newspaper business, my career is headed in a curious new direction.

Last week, I accepted a marketing and communications position with an established Central Alberta oilfield contracting company — and life has been a bit of whirlwind ever since.

Changing jobs is scary enough, never mind changing industries.

It’s taken a long time for the reality to set in. I’m bracing for a few months of intense personal and professional change.

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Top 10 stories of 2013 a pretty grim list

As the Red Deer Advocate’s news and new media editor, part of my day is spent gauging reader response to the material we post to our website and social media portals like Facebook and Twitter.

Despite the constant complaint that ‘news is too negative,’ our online readers continue to click on headlines of a tragic nature — and that’s understandable. People are inherently fascinated by the human condition, and that includes death and disaster. It’s been that way since cavemen started painting on walls.

But if I were asked to describe today’s typical online reader in a single word, that word would be ‘unpredictable.’

The Advocate newsroom produces more than 9,000 local news items every year. On many occasions, stories I might expect to spread like wildfire elicit little response, while those seemingly innocuous items can go totally viral without warning.

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My first Father’s Day as a father

I awoke Sunday morning with the feeling I was being watched.

Still foggy with sleep, I looked to my left and saw the gleaming blue eyes of my three-month-old son Grayson staring at me. My wife, Amanda, had him propped up on her pillow in anticipation of me waking up to my first Father’s Day as an honest-to-goodness daddy.

“Hey dude,” I said, and he replied with a happy gurgling sound and an ear-to-ear grin.

I couldn’t imagine a better way to start that day — or any day, really.

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Falcon Cam the ultimate reality show

I’ve developed a mild obsession recently.

Over the past week, I’ve taken in so much information on peregrine falcons that I’ve started to forget other stuff.

In March, we at the Advocate newsroom heard about the Red Deer River Naturalist’s ambitious plans to place a webcam in the famous falcon nest in the Highland Green Telus tower.

From the moment the cam went live in mid April, my colleagues and I were hooked.

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