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La Grande Observer Daily Paper 09/01/14

The LaGrande Observer is now online in a Replica E-edition form and publishes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Current subscribers have full access to the E-edition.

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Home arrow Opinion arrow I'M READY FOR THE CHALLENGE


Joe Sova ().
Joe Sova ().

I f you're wondering who this guy who is the author of sports stories in The Observer this week is, let me tell you about your new sports editor.

I was born and raised in Manderson in north central Wyoming, growing up in a town of 114. I think the people were easily outnumbered by the cats and dogs.

After graduation and a year of college, I moved two hours south to Riverton, a town about the size of La Grande, to continue my education. My first newspaper job was in classified advertising with The Riverton Ranger, which published Monday through Friday. Soon I moved into the display ad department. Two years into my newspaper career, I became sports editor of the Ranger.

Working at the Ranger was quite similar to what I'm doing in La Grande. Both are early afternoon publications. We covered seven high schools in Fremont County, geographically one of the largest counties in Wyoming. Early in my time in Ranger sports, I got a feel for providing extensive coverage of high school sports. There were also stories about Central Wyoming College basketball and volleyball.

Later, I served as sports editor of a twice-weekly in Lander, Wyo., and after quite a stint in radio (in news, sport and ad sales) I went back to print. I was editor of a weekly in Basin, Wyo. before moving to Spokane, Wash. I was sports editor of the Valley News Herald for about a year before accepting the sports editor position at The Observer last month.

It's off on a tangent, but I want to mention the adjustments I've made in terms of population and most dramatically, traffic. I went from a town of 1,200 to Spokane, whose population is approaching half a million in the city and its surrounding communities. I thought the traffic was sometimes horrendous, although I was told it was nothing compared to Seattle.

La Grande is much like Riverton, although I've struggled a bit with the five-way stop signs and cross streets where there are two stop signs. Trains passing through have caused delays in travel, but I live on the south side of town so I don't encounter the activated crossings too often.

Back to sports. I'm just finishing my first week at The Observer and it's been a learning experience. Pierre, our former sports editor, got me started Monday. From there, sports writer Raenelle – who is a wealth of knowledge of local sports, as is Pierre – has answered all my questions, some of them asked a half dozen times or more. The staff at The Observer is as friendly as any I've worked with, and as helpful as any I've encountered as well.

With fall sports almost upon us, Raenelle and I will be getting quite busy keeping up with what's happening in our local coverage area. I know Phil and Laura will be available for photo help.

Here are a couple tips for you. The Observer will be running a weekly football contest this fall. We're also initiating an "athlete of the week" feature.

Stay tuned to The Observer. We'll continue to provide unprecedented coverage of local sports.

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