Five years fast
Sunday was a dreary sort of day in Carroll County, but it was also a milestone day for me.
It was the five-year anniversary of my first day here at Carroll County Newspapers. The time has passed quickly, but Iíve enjoyed almost every day of it.
Before I came here, I was managing editor of the daily newspaper in Pine Bluff. There are some awfully good folks who live in that city, and I worked with some talented people at that newspaper. But it was an untenable situation, working 10 or 12 hours a day, usually six days a week. Add to that the fact that ownership was clearly making plans to sell the paper (that is almost never a good thing for a newsroom or any employee, for that matter) and it was time for me to make a change.
I had been through Carroll County once, more than 20 years ago when I missed the 412 turnoff on my way from Mountain Home to Fayetteville to cover a baseball game. I knew very little about it, except that it had to offer a better quality of life than what I had been experiencing.
I did have one local connection ó Chan Davis, then the sports editor for the Carroll County News, had worked in Pine Bluff for a while before coming here. Chan was kind enough to put in a good word for me with publisher Bob Moore, and after a couple of phone calls, Bob offered me the job.
Candidly, I took a bit of a pay cut to come here. And I would do it again every day for the rest of my career.
What I found in Carroll County was a beautiful place to make my home. We are surrounded by so much natural beauty here, but we are also surrounded by friends and neighbors with a sense of pride in our community that only adds to the effect.
What I found at Carroll County Newspapers was a wonderful group of people who welcomed me immediately and have made me feel at home ever since. I owe Bob Moore more gratitude than I can express in this space. The same goes for all the folks around the office. Iíve been blessed, too, with a great newsroom staff but two folks in particular stand out. Our former staff photographer, David Bell (whoís now the worldís greatest freelance photographer as he enjoys his semi-retirement) went out of his way from the very first day to make sure I felt welcome and comfortable here. Iíve celebrated more than one holiday with David and his family, and I cherish his friendship. Not long after I started work here, I hired a recent college graduate as an entry-level reporter at Carroll County News. Over the past five years, Iíve watched Samantha Jones blossom into a first-rate journalist, so much so that sheís now our associate editor and oversees news operations for the Lovely County Citizen and for our various specialty publications. The sky is the limit for Sam, and Iím glad sheís here with us.
Of course, not every day is sunshine and rainbows. Weíve ruffled a few feathers along the way, but thatís what good journalists do. Being a good editor requires a degree of mental toughness, and I donít mind standing up for what we do. At the same time, however, I try never to lose sight of being objective and fair.
I thought my time here might be coming to an end a few months ago. I interviewed for a job with a newspaper group in Alabama, and really expected to receive an offer. For whatever reason, that didnít happen. In hindsight, that was for the best. After five amazing years, my home really is right here in Carroll County.