The Overcast Is Over

The Overcast had a great run, but the runner's high is giving way to aching legs and visions of a simpler life.

Imagine being the person, Charles Osbourne, who got hiccups that never went away. Just imagine, every couple of minutes, hic.

I can imagine it. Except for me, instead of hiccups, it’s something The Overcast needs from me. I just want to catch my breath, and be more present in my own life.

The Overcast had a great run, but the runner’s high is giving way to aching legs and visions of a simpler life. I have been dealing with daily deadlines for 1846 days in a row now, and come day 1850, I want to bask in the simple joy of a weekend off, and plotting what to do with the next five years of my life.

Be Sure To Pick Up Our Final Issue, On Stands Today, Or Read it Here. It’s a Special 5 Year Commemorative Issue, Thank You, and Goodbye

The Overcast grew to a readership of 60,000 people in a small town, in a small province, and I mean it when I say this paper became whatever it became because of you who is reading this.

It was you, the public, who embraced it, made space for it, picked up a copy, told others to pick up a copy, got in touch with me, and in some cases, asked if you could write something (and then wrote it).

A lot of you became contributors. For a few articles, or for a few years. So it was you who made this paper a voice of the city.

More than 100 people wrote impassioned stories for this paper, from middle-aged politicians to young starving students, from architects to anarchists, a cab driver and a sex worker, some doctors and some teachers, musicians and bankers, and a lot of journalists. This modestly paid chorus of community voices elevated The Overcast well beyond what I imagined it’d become.

We’ve been a farm team for stories picked up by provincial and national media, a howling wolf that might have helped reverse some political decisions, a bridge to connect local consumers with local products, and plenty of other stuff that made this job feel so rewarding.

To make the paper work, I had to juggle 4 or 5 different roles myself. It watered down how well I could devote myself to any 1 role, so I made a few mistakes here and there. I ran some stuff I’m appropriately embarrassed by. Thanks for standing up for, or mostly forgiving the paper in those moments, and seeing me as fallible human, instead of adding your weight to the social media pile-ons that come with public jobs in the modern world. That kind of behaviour terrifies me, because it only widens the rift between opposing views, and between us as a community, which resolves nothing.

Together, we’ve laughed, cried, talked, and shouted … about the friggen sidewalks, the friggen economy, the friggen absurdity of it all. We’ve survived, we’ve collaborated, we’ve been through 5 crazy years together, and we’ve even filled our arteries with the cholesterol of 81 burgers together, in Overcast Burger Battles.

I’m extremely grateful for the widespread readership the paper enjoyed — it meant I got to enjoy a dreamjob for 5 years, and scratch “running a paper” off my bucket list.

Now that I’m moving on, I’m feeling very excited, and appropriately sad, to reach into my bucket list again, and haul a few new things from it. Become a Master Chef. Get all these book ideas in your head onto paper, then email your agent to see if she remembers who you are. Change something, actually change something about the province.

Last March, a job ad in Food First NL’s newsletter caught my eye. The bleak, upsetting, and profit-driven nature of the global food industry has become a new passion of mine. So I applied and got the job. It’s a place that is making the food system in our province more vibrant and self-reliant; a place making healthy food more accessible to everyone, no matter how much you make or where you live in our province, and it’s a place nudging our province to care about that sort of thing. Their sustained work is changing things in a way 1-day news cycles cannot. So I am happy here for now. I’ve moved on.

Let’s all get excited for whatever is coming next.

I hope The Overcast is just getting out of the way for some new blood to rush in and launch a new community paper. One that gives us all something to talk about and engage with every month.

If someone does launch a new monthly in our wake, please come loot all the amazing writers, illustrators, and Mira from The Overcast. They’re the best, and the best to work with.

I hope to keep The Overcast’s spirit alive by writing for local and national papers, and covering the kinds of stories that were at the heart of The Overcast. So please, keep pitching me stories and press releases at chad@theovercast.ca.

(This in no way affects The Overcast’s Burger Battle 2019. Honour our memory, or local restaurants, by chowing down and lighting up the hashtag #overcastburgerbattle all month long.)

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12 Comments

  • Sorry to see you go. Thanks to Chad and all your writers for helping provide this displaced Newfoundlander some contact with our beloved province. Good luck with your new adventures.

    Ron

  • The Overcast will be truly missed–thanks for 5 years of great reporting, information and great reading—don’t think I’ve missed a copy

  • Well this sucks. Where will I get packing paper for wrapping the dishes when I move again? There was always a good stack of it at Dominion

  • “Change something, actually change something about the province.” I’d say you’ve already done that one…. But I’m glad you’re still ambitious. Thanks for a great five-year run. Herodotus said the happiest person in the world was the one who quit at the top of their game. I’d say you’re making the right decision.

  • Thanks so much for letting me stretch my writing chops, and sending so much good music my way, Chad. Enjoy whatever the next phase holds. So long and thanks for all the fish!

  • You did an amazing job, Chad. Taking up the torch from Elling and Bryannah’s and making the Overcast even more relevant to St John’s life. But there comes a time when it’s no a relevant it’s a hippopotamus and that is a pretty large critter to carry around. Best wishes – we know you’ll do well.

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