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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

He’s gone… but not forgotten

BY Nation Editors Jan 15, 2021

For years Dan Isaac has been a part of the Nation. An important part we must admit. He came to us as a young man full of morals and ideals. A necessary part of any person looking for a position in media.

It took us a while to erode those parts of his personality, but we eventually succeeded. Perhaps we were too successful as he is leaving us for a higher-paying job. Not that we feel that is a bad thing as he is taking a job with a higher salary than we can give him.

We know he will take the gifts of adulthood we have given and encouraged in him to his new career. Oh yes, perhaps we were hard on him at first but after we tossed him into the deep end and said “Swim”, he did. Not like an Olympic swimmer but like a person who wouldn’t drown in the morass that is the swamp that media has to handle. We are both proud and surprised at his ability to use water wings correctly.

His first taste of working in the field was flying to North Dakota to cover the pipeline protest at Standing Rock. The excited cub reporter who left the office full of anticipation returned a seasoned journalist. Having witnessed an event of such historical significance had earned him his journalistic stripes.

There have been many arguments and more about stories that have appeared in the Nation during the five years Dan has been with us. All of them have not gone beyond the less than physical because as journalists we know the pen is mightier than the sword… in most cases.

Dan Isaac certainly chose a dramatic day to leave his job as managing editor of this newsmagazine. While we were raising glasses of 12-year-old scotch to toast his five years of devotion to informing and provoking the readers of the Nation with his thoughtful writing, costumed mobs in Washington, DC, were trying to overthrow the US government and install the orange one as president-for-life.

Despite Dan’s many talents, let’s just say that timing is not his strongest suit.

Speaking of suits, we’ll miss his dapper dress code. No one in the Nation office can look so striking in a pair of worn-out Wranglers and a tattered t-shirt like Mr. Isaac. Perhaps it was his flowing half-Mohawk/half Mi’kmaq dark hair that blends into his armpit dreadlocks that made him stand out. At least we finally shamed him into getting rid of the man bun he sported when he came to us all eager and innocent five years ago. 

Those of us who can no longer grow a man bun are only jealous, of course. But we can be proud to report that he is also no longer innocent. Five years in the journalistic trenches help a person to learn useful skills – like cynicism and alcoholism, for instance.

The sartorial splendour, of course, was financed by the incredibly generous salary and benefits package we all enjoy here at this major media powerhouse. Seriously, however, it’s a wonder how Dan could afford to father two children during his time here on Clark Street in Montreal’s painfully hip Mile End neighbourhood. He probably saves his nickels to dress his beautiful kids better than he does himself. 

So, it’s a natural thing. We take untested, raw talent, and beat journalism skills into them while exploiting the hell out of them for a few years. Then – with tears in our eyes – we watch them go off into the big, wide world to finally earn a living wage.  

Dan Isaac deserves it, and we wish him all the best. But we sure will miss him. And we actually do have tears in our eyes.

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Will Nicholls, Lyle Stewart & Martin Siberok are the editors of the Nation magazine.