Dave Conrad is an exception, however, and yesterday he celebrated his 40th anniversary as a fulltime employee with the Truro Daily News.
Conrad, now 60, actually entered the newspaper business as a part-time sports reporter while still attending high school at Cobequid Educational Centre.
“I had never really thought about (entering journalism). The paper was looking for someone who was involved with writing and sports,” Conrad said, noting he was busy with football, hockey and baseball and his name was given to the newspaper.
“At that time, I was getting ready for university, so I decided to do this for a little while.”
Conrad held many titles during his first two decades on the job (from 1973 to 1993) – sports editor, photographer, news reporter, wire editor, news editor, interim managing editor and back to news editor.
“Then, computers came through the door in a box,” the lifelong Truro resident recalled. “Outside of opening the boxes, no one aside from myself had ever seen a computer before.”
Because the computers were coming for the production team, Conrad was asked to set up the computers and train the staff on how to use them.
“I had to learn them myself, but that’s how I ended up in production.”
Conrad remembers when the Truro Daily News received its first Mac computer – a 2100.
“It was exciting because we could lay out our pages on the screen and see how things were going to look, but there wasn’t enough memory to do anything with it,” he said. “We couldn’t print it – there was just no memory.”
While Conrad has been looking after the information technology (IT) side of things for decades now, he was never really hired on to do the job.
“I was just the one that did it. No one else could, would, or would even try.”
Another highlight occurred when the Canadian Press was testing out its new highspeed transfer system.
“Truro was the test site and there was a picture of me with the Canadian Press on the front page, which I wish I had today, where we were going over the data as it came in.”
Over the years, Conrad has worked with hundreds of co-workers and seven publishers, including current publisher Richard Russell.
“Dave’s role has changed many times but he has always been able to adapt to that changing environment,” said Russell. “He could always be counted on in a crisis, whether it was two in the morning or four in the afternoon.”
Conrad said he didn’t really look at going elsewhere once he got through the door of the Truro Daily News.
“But I went to Fort McMurray in my second year here,” he said. “It was when Fort McMurray was just starting and they were opening a daily newspaper there. So I went and helped set it up and get everything going.”
And the four decades spent with one company has never been dull.
“The process of how you’re doing things used to change every five years, but now it’s about every two months,” said Conrad, who is married to Barb and has two grown daughters, Janna and Brenna. “I’ve always liked learning the new things as they would come along.”
In today’s workforce, Russell said he can’t imagine having such dedication anywhere.
“I don’t think there will be another employee committing to 40 years to one employer in the years to come,” he said.
“We congratulate Dave for his 40 years and wish him many more.”