- Special Sections
- Public Notices
So I’m told years that end with the number 8 are marked as “new beginnings.”
Landmark’s director of human resources started my exit interview last week with that bit of information — maybe as a way of calming my nervousness so I could begin talking about the last five years of my professional life without crying. Maybe they were words of support and justification that the decision to leave my job is the right one.
I tend to believe the latter.
How I’ve prayed the decisions I’ve made in 2008 are the “right ones.” There have been so many difficult decisions. Will I ever know? Maybe not in the moment. But if what Cheryl says is true, I will know, just as I’ve had every justification thus far in this year ending with 8 that, in fact, I’m on the right path.
As I left Cheryl’s office, I officially dubbed the year 2008 as the new beginning of my life. I’ve had to cross personal and professional decisions in ways that I never thought they were meant to be crossed. Yet for me, my profession is personal, and my personal life is incredibly impacted by my profession — to the point that it recently became clear it is time for a change.
For all the love I have for newspapers and journalism, The Oldham Era and this community, the need to be near my family and provide the best life I can for my son became the top priority.
And then there’s the burning desire I’ve had during this transitional time in my life for a new challenge. Something that keeps me close to the profession I love, while also affording me the ability to explore new facets of the communication business and further my education.
When I saw the job posting for assistant director of public relations and marketing at the Kentucky Humanities Council in Lexington, I knew — just like I knew when I got a call five years ago about this great editor’s job in Oldham County — that this could be the answer. I applied. I interviewed. And I was graciously offered the position.
On Friday, I will walk out the door at 204 S. First St. in La Grange with a box full of experience under my arm, a lot of pride, and a drive to excel in something new. I have absolutely loved being the editor, and later the publisher, of this newspaper. I am proud of the staff I’ve built and the success we’ve achieved.
We have been Kentucky’s best large weekly newspaper three years in a row. I feel so blessed to have played a part in that — though sometimes it has felt like pure luck.
Who would’ve known that a quality journalist like John Foster, who has taken The Oldham Era to incredible levels with his writing and photography, would have just shown up on the newspaper’s doorstep on a Tuesday evening after hours looking for work?
And who would have thought I could recruit extremely talented Editor Jacquelyn Stoess Hack to the position she’s in after listening to her tell me emphatically during her first college internship here that she would, and I quote, “never return to Oldham County to work for The Era” after graduation? And then there’s Sports Editor Mickey Patterson, who I lovingly dragged into the 21st Century of journalism kicking and screaming, to his acknowledgment, scared that at any time he might get tired of my pushing. He’s the OC’s expert on local sports, and the newspaper wouldn’t be the same without him. And though I was sad a couple of years ago to lose staff member Nate Kissel, one of the Era’s most adored reporters, I was fortunate to be able to replace him down the road with Laura Hagan, whose experience as a Landmark editor at another paper has proven invaluable to her position.
Then there are the staff members who welcomed me with open arms when I took the leap from being editor to publisher two years ago. Several of them have come and gone since then, but to those who are here now and have supported me during this time — Sharon, Barbara, Cheri, Mabel, Laura, Eric and Mary: You have helped me grow as a manager and a person in ways I never knew I could. Thank you.
Finally, there’s my Landmark family, which is too large to name, but has been like my immediate family for five years. I’ve built such a strong support network of fellow editors and publishers and I’ve been so blessed to be a part of this company. The opportunities I’ve been afforded have been above and beyond anything I could have ever expected. I’ll never be able to completely express my gratitude to this great number of people.
I’ve learned so much working in this community. I’ve made serious mistakes, and I’ve had great successes. I walk away from Oldham County a better person, though, and for that I’m thankful.
The next few years will be an interesting and telling time for the newspaper business, and I will be eager to see how things progress as our company changes hands and my cohorts push forward in making changes that will help our industry survive.
It’s an exciting time for whoever takes over at The Oldham Era. I hope community members will welcome him or her with open arms, just as they did me.
In the meantime, I’ll be celebrating a new beginning in my life, with an exciting new job and less distance between me and the people who mean the most to me. Cheers to 2008, and the opportunities it has presented.
Wish me luck.
The views expressed in this column are those of the writer.