LAST week marked 30 years since the famous RRS Discovery made her final journey on the River Tay to put Dundee on the modern map.
On September 26, 1992, thousands of people lined the route to welcome home the venerable vessel.
The ship was purpose-built in the city to take explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott to the Antarctic in the early 1900s.
Its return to Dundee marked the beginning of the city’s regeneration.
A new £6 million visitor centre was built and in the years that followed there were more developments on the waterfront, including the V&A.
Constructed by Dundee Shipbuilders Company, Discovery took Scott and crew members including Ernest Shackleton further south than any other explorer had been before. But by 1979, it was seriously dilapidated and in 1986 it returned to Dundee where it was restored in Victoria Dock.
Since then, the ship has become a fixture of the cityscape, permanently berthed at Discovery Point.
Back in 1992 I was a trainee at DC Thomson in the city of jute, jam and journalism. It was an exciting time and, although I left after three years, there was always a place in my heart for the city in which I had cut my teeth in newspapers.
It’s hard to believe it’s been more than 30 years since I started that journalistic voyage in the City of Discovery. There have been stormy waters amid the calm … and the industry landscape and horizons have changed dramatically.
I don’t quite stretch back to hot metal despite what you might believe. Nevertheless, technological developments have been dramatic. And while this has meant the stripping out of some editorial processes and the loss of many roles, it has also meant an evolution of new disciplines that acknowledge the digital possibilities at our fingertips that make news gathering and dissemination on multimedia platforms more exciting than ever before. And no matter the changes, we should never forget how much fun it is.
It’s understandable that colleagues of my vintage tend to lament the passing of the “good old days”. But please, let’s try to be a bit more positive. Let’s not taint an exciting future for the next generation of young journalists by mourning a past that should remain there.
Yes, there are some great tales from back in the day. The extended lunch breaks in the Press Bar enjoying more than Tom’s infamous Magic Pies. It was telling that this hostelry had a direct phone line to the editorial floor at Albion Street. But the days of a macho newsroom thick with the fog of tobacco smoke and endless misspent eccies are better behind us. Too many colleagues died too young.
The future is bright. Good journalism will always be good journalism, no matter the tools of our trade.
So it is with a heavy heart that I hang up those tools.
This marks my last edition as editor of the Sunday National.
It’s a role I have enjoyed immensely, and it will be hard to say goodbye to such a wonderful team.
I leave to take up a full-time lecturing post at City of Glasgow College, so in a different way I hope to play a part in shaping the industry’s future by passing on my experience to a new generation of media professionals.
Journalism has been good to me and I’m grateful for this. Now it’s time to give something back.