I will try very hard not to be overly romantic in saying this but here goes...
Today, I have been in the newsroom with trusted colleagues Chris Lloyd (Deputy Editor) and Dave Horsley (Head of Production) putting the finishing touches to The Northern Echo's Remembrance Sunday edition.
It has been in the planning for more than a year but is only now coming to fruition. Indeed, it is blossoming before my eyes with front and back pages made up of the most beautiful poppies I have ever seen. They were produced by acclaimed artist Mackenzie Thorpe and I cannot thank him enough.
Loading article content
In around two hours, the pages will be revealed for the first time on The Northern Echo's website, www.northernecho.co.uk. Technology allowing, the "reveal" will be between 19:14 and 19:18 on the 24-hour clock and, for that suggestion, we have our graphic artist Chris Moran to thank.
Around 30,000 copies of the Sunday edition will be printed shortly after 7pm tonight and they will be in the shops in the morning, selling for £1 (100 pence for 100 years). For each copy sold, 10p will go to our £100,000 For 100 Years" appeal in aid of Phoenix House, a rehabilitation centre for soldiers, established at Catterick Garrison by Help For Heroes.
Mackenzie's original artworks will be auctioned later this month, again in aid of Phoenix House.
In 16 years as editor, it has been my privilege to be involved in recording great moments of history, and seeing campaigns come to fruition which have changed people's lives.
I have no doubt that tomorrow's Remembrance Sunday edition - featuring 100 faces of North-East soldiers who died in the Great War; historic wartime front pages from The Northern Echo archives; and much more - will be among the most special publications produced during the 144-year history of this proud newspaper.
It comes at a time of frenzied debate about the future of newspapers and the great transition to digital publishing. And, of course, that is an entirely relevant and necessary debate because times are changing rapidly. It is sad in some ways, exciting in others, hugely challenging in many more, but it is no one's fault. It is as unstoppable as gravity.
And yet, in the midst of all that technological change, day's like this, and editions like tomorrow's, show that newspapers are far from finished. It is why I wanted to work for a newspaper from being a schoolboy: to be part of recording special moments in history; and to make a difference.
The digital age will continue to accelerate and we should relish the opportunities it brings. Newspaper circulations will, in most cases, continue to fall. But the tot But the total readership of historic titles like The Northern Echo will reach unprecedented levels if that transition is managed thoughtfully.
Newspapers still have their place, and it is an important place too. We should acknowledge their faults and apologise sincerely when mistakes are made. But we really should love newspapers, protect them, and never underestimate the work and care that goes into producing them - especially on days like this.