It’s not often that I’ve struggled with writer’s block. I can probably write stories in my sleep (we test that theory every November on election nights when results are coming in later than I’m used to being up). However, this is one piece I have struggled with writing over the last month.
I need to take this time to announce I have put in my resignation at the newspaper and my last day will be Friday.
This decision does not come lightly, readers. I have spent more than four and a half years at The Observer and have gone through some remarkable changes to which I attribute some of my personal growth. With that being said, I know when it’s time to leave and go off on a new adventure.
I can tell you the decision to leave started before the announcement of the bankruptcy. It was not the main factor in my decision, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t play a part. I cannot make you believe me, but I do promise you that’s the truth.
I am not worried the newspaper will shutter its doors despite the rumor going around the community that we are on our last leg. The Observer is going through some hard times, of course. However, hear me when I say, we are a profitable newspaper and will come out the other side of this so long as we have the community backing us.
And that’s the key to the rise or fall of a community newspaper. It’s about you who’s reading this.
Instead of writing about my experiences through the years at the newspaper, I want to take this time to tell the community how important community journalism is.
The Observer extensively covers city council meetings, commissioner meetings, elections, breaking news, community events and many other subjects. While there are other media outlets in the community, the newspaper has the capacity to take the time to thoroughly cover a story. We attend the meetings, we meet with the candidates and we stay on the scene until the first responders start packing up. That goes away if we go away. I assure you, Portland or Boise TV channels or newspapers will not be covering Northeast Oregon. Despite what many may think, Facebook is not a reliable news source.
We are a small newsroom — we’re one-third less staffed than what we were when I started here — so we can’t cover every meeting or every story that’s out there. However, I’d argue we have covered some big ones and I’m very proud of what my newsroom and I have accomplished over the years despite the small size and the often times low energy levels.
Now is the time we need the community behind us. Write in your letters of support. Send us news story ideas. Buy a subscription. The more people who support us, the better off the newspaper will be after we come out of the bankruptcy and media companies make their offers to purchase us.
I use “us” and “we” because I intend to continue writing for the newspaper as much as I can in a freelancing position. I believe in this industry and I always will. I have a reporter’s mindset and I love news. While I need to take a step away from journalism, I do not plan to leave the newsroom I’ve called home for four years. I believe in this newspaper and I believe in the people who work there. They’re a tough group of people who have gone through quite a bit. They’re my friends and colleagues and deserve nothing but the best. The reporters that I’ve led over the last year as editor have made me very proud. I leave the paper in their very capable hands and am excited to watch them from the sidelines. I know they can do this.
Take care, readers. You’ll see my byline again so I won’t say goodbye — I’ll talk to you later.