Back in 2002, shortly after I was named the editor of The Middletown Press I was asked to be the speaker during a lunchtime Rotary Club meeting here in the city. So despite my profound fear of public speaking, I did my duty and talked about the future of journalism, the future of this paper and took plenty of questions from the audience.
I believe the second question I was asked (the first being "when is The Press going back to an afternoon paper?") was how long I planned on being here. The paper had been through quite a rough patch when it came to editors, I believe the average lifespan had been 8 months.
One former reporter once told me that in 8 years she worked under 12 editors - and that was after I had been at the paper for a few years already.
I answered the question as honestly as I could -- I was happy to be back at my hometown paper and I had no intentions of moving on in the near future.
Now I can give a more definative answer -- I would be editor at The Press for 6 years and 2 months.
I've been offered the opportunity to work with my current publisher to launch a new publication -- an opportunity and a challenge that I'm extremely excited about. But leaving is also very bittersweet.
I grew up reading this paper - I looked for my name and the names of my friends and family in Fred Post's old column -- Keeping Posted. There are scrapbooks either at my house or my parents that have clippings from The Press sprinkled throughout -- honor rolls, sports stories, scholarship announcements.
The readers of this paper gave me support and encouragement during the time when I learned Nikki would be born with Down syndrome as well as a heart defect. They prayed for her when she had her open heart surgery and they celebrated when she came through that surgery with flying colors. The notes and cards I received during that time are still much cherished.
And the readers who so graciously welcomed my work into their home were never shy about telling me what I could do better. Sometimes the criticism was harsh, but I did learn something from each and every person who ever contacted me.
There are too many people to thank for me to list them all but to all the past and current staff at The Press, it has been a true honor putting out this paper alongside you. The process really is "a daily miracle."
I'll still be blogging here alongside Cassandra and the two of us are sure to have plenty of adventures to write about this fall as Nikki and T both head off to Kindergarten (and we both have serious pangs about our "babies" growing up).
To the readers of The Press - two final words -- Thank You.