Midlothian Advertiser’s Janet Bee to retire after 34-year career
There hasn’t been a day in her 34-year career that she hasn’t looked forward to this one – the fanfare, ticker tape and adoring crowds cheering her departure. Well coronavirus put paid to the crowds, didn’t it?
Having started out as a journalist in 1986 at this very paper, it’s fair to say Janet was destined for bigger things. Always looking for the next big story – lost dogs, cats and escaped budgies weren’t for her.
And so it was for Janet, it didn’t take long before her talent and determination soon shone through and she started the journey into the hallowed halls of editorial management.
I was warned when she became my editor that she was a bit of a nightmare, swearing like a trooper, insisting her decaf coffee and croissant was ready and waiting every morning. I had no idea where it originated. I heard it from Marjory in advertising, who heard it from Jacob in finance, and he heard it from Gwendoline in editorial – such is the factual nature of a newsroom!
But you see, while I jest, nothing could be further from the truth with Janet.
A consummate professional, caring, helpful, always there for her staff, never asking someone to do a task if she wasn’t prepared to do it herself, and nine times out of ten, no matter how busy she was, she’d just get on with it rather than inconvenience one of her team, which is what we were –a team who respected her as a boss.
It’s a mark of her talents as an individual and the gaffer, that she is universally liked by her staff, and on learning of her imminent departure were genuinely saddened to hear the news.
She had us all going at one point threatening NEVER to retire. It’s strange how the lure of prosecco, flowers and shopping vouchers can change a person so quickly.
But there comes a time in everyone’s life when an opportunity presents itself that’s just too good to ignore.
This Friday will be Janet’s last day as she looks back on a career which has seen her travel to Iraq and Belize; cover the Luke Mitchell trial at the High Court in Edinburgh; and latterly be responsible for all JPI Media’s small weekly titles in Scotland, including the Stornoway Gazette and Southern Reporter.
Morag Kuc, Janet’s deputy, who is taking over her role and has big boots to fill, said: “I have worked with Janet for the past three years and in that time she has created a fantastic team.
“Her leadership skills are such that she gets the best out of her staff, always ensuring their wellbeing is top of the list, including the ‘Blether with Bee’ session every Friday where staff could chat in confidence about anything that was bothering them. Suffice to say there were rarely ever complaints.
“She has been an absolute pleasure to work with and has never been afraid of rolling up her sleeves and getting stuck in when needs must and she will be sorely missed by everyone in ACH.
“On a personal note, Janet has not only been my boss for the past three years, but has become a good friend and I wish her all the very best for the future.”
Colleague and friend John MacInnes said: “In my many years as a journalist I have worked for a lot of editors, most of whom straddled the fine line between schizophrenia and psychopathy on a daily basis, but hand on heart, Janet was a literal breath of fresh air. Someone you could rely on, a print journalist at heart, and that makes all the difference to this job, which is changing beyond all recognition.
“I wish her every good fortune in all that she decides to do in the future... just don’t apply for Strictly!”