My dad once said to me if you’re not an editor within five years of working for a small-town paper, you’re doing something wrong.
Now, as a lifelong educator turned charity CEO, he doesn’t speak from a place of experience. It was based more on dedicated research and talking with former journalists he’s worked with over the years. I didn’t see anything wrong with staying a reporter and learning from my editors as long as possible.
Yet last month in my fifth year working as a journalist I became editor of the 100 Mile Free Press. Guess Dad was right after all.
Becoming editor was an idea I had toyed with throughout the summer this year. After Kelly Sinoski retired there were several months where we struggled at the paper to find a replacement. I had to step up and as time went on I thought, ‘Why don’t I just do it?’
When Dene Moore joined us in September I was excited to learn from another Veteran journalist. She brought a calming presence to the newsroom and ideas for stories I had never considered. It was fun to listen to her stories of the old glory days of print media, back when journalists could take six months to write a single story on a company line of credit.
While she was great to work with, Dene ended up getting an offer she couldn’t refuse and, somewhat to my surprise, recommended that I take over. After telling friends and family I was THIS close to applying back in August, I knew I needed to put my money where my mouth was and meet this new challenge.
Now I’m only a few weeks in but so far taking on the editor’s chair has been… anticlimatic? While, yes, my responsibilities have grown, after so many months of filling in a lot of what I’m doing in my new role is what I was doing before. I still go out in the community to take pictures, try to find interesting and meaningful stories and make sure everything that goes into the paper is accurate.
It also helps that we have a solid team here willing to support me and provide that experience I’m still developing. They may not be journalists but their instincts and advice are always valuable.
I take pride in putting out a good product and it’s been gratifying to hear members of the community congratulate me on my new role. That support and encouragement give me confidence I’m doing at least a halfway decent job.
So as I settle into this new role I look forward to honing my skills more and maybe, one day, being a mentor to a new journalist myself. Isn’t that a funny thought?