I can't say that I ever thought I'd quote Winnie the Pooh in my professional career, but here it goes: "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." - Winnie the Pooh
I feel so blessed as I prepare my last edition of the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Come Monday, you will have a new editor for your community newspaper, and I will be off on another adventure within the Forum Communications company.
But boy, this isn't easy. I feel myself blinking back tears even as I write this because everything here has come to mean so, so much to me.
I still remember the exact day I started here. It was February 14, 2011. My first assignment was to cover a school board meeting in Detroit Lakes. It feels like yesterday when I was introducing myself to the people on that board. They all welcomed me. Now, eight years and hundreds of other "welcomes" later, I'm saying goodbye as your editor.
Although I'm supposed to be a "words" woman, I have a tough time coming up with a way that adequately expresses how much my time here at this newspaper has meant to me.
It is a privilege to work at a newspaper. We get to be the history-keepers. It has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of incredible people in this community that I might not have met otherwise and experiences that I wouldn't have had. We get to be a part of all of the amazing, crazy, heartbreaking, heart-touching, maddening, critical, funny moments of our community. We have the responsibility of holding local leaders accountable while continually contemplating our own accountability and striving to ensure that we are being fair and ethical because we know our stories have impact. But I'm telling you all, I've been a part of journalism in bigger cities and smaller communities like Detroit Lakes, and it is much harder - by far - to do this kind of work in a small town. It can be awkward. Simply doing your job can cause you to strain or lose relationships with people you knew and maybe liked because you can't always operate the way they'd like you to...you have to maintain journalistic integrity, and this gets tested all the time. But I am so lucky to work with a group of professionals who do this day in and day out. I admire them professionally, and I love them personally.
For me, this newspaper has been a constant throughout the ups and downs of life. It has been the place that has always allowed me to put my family first at all times...and with four kids, two dogs and a husband, that has meant the world to me. The people I work with have made me laugh every single day I've been here. (In fact, as I write this, Publisher Melissa Swenson just came into my office to serenade me with a medley of sad, sad songs and threatens to stand outside my new workplace holding up a big boombox, like in the movie Say Anything.
They've been here for me throughout tears and cheers and everything in between. They've heard all of my ridiculous stories and super funny jokes ... (What? They are) ... and have become like family to me. They've made me a better journalist, a better leader, a better person. I hope this community understands what a treasure they have in their newspaper and the people here. I do, and I will be forever grateful that I got to be a part of it.