This is my last week and last edition in which I will be the managing editor of the Clermont News Leader. Several weeks ago I received and accepted the offer to become the managing editor of the Walterboro (SC) Press & Standard.
The hallmark of my career as a managing editor has been rescuing newspapers that are ailing. It’s how I got my start as the head of a newsroom in Lincolnton, N.C., and it’s continued ever since. This is why I am taking the position in South Carolina, partly because I believe my work here in Clermont can now be transferred over to another.
When then-Clermont News Leader publisher Jim Gouvellis, with whom I had worked alongside in the past, learned I had just returned to the state following a six month stint in Laramie, Wyoming, he asked me to be this paper’s managing editor.
I gladly accepted, because what he described excited me. According to him, the News Leader had gone through a number of owners, to the point it no longer resembled what it started out to be when it began in 1982.
Through these many months (20-and-a-half, if you’re counting) I have striven to bring you, our readers and advertisers, articles of interest and importance, of people and events whose stories, I hope, touched your lives as they did mine.
At times it wasn’t easy and there were moments I felt as if I was Sisyphus, pushing the boulder up the hill, only to have it roll back down just before I could get it to the top. Locating and securing good writers proved to be the greatest challenge, and I went through quite a few people before succeeding with the current pair, Larry H. Oskin (nabbed from our competition because he was “eating our lunch”) and Sharon Keeble. I’m going to miss them and wish there was some way I could spirit them away with me, and yes, I have asked, knowing full well in advance what the answers would be.
Then there was Jack Castle, a published author of fiction novels. Due to budgetary concerns it was necessary to let him go. But it came at a good time, as Jack is now extensively involved with Showcase of Citrus.
With Jack, it was a joy working with him, teaching him the ropes over how to write an article. So many times he would submit his draft. By the time I returned it, the draft was soaked in red ink. To this day I am surprised he didn’t check himself into the hospital for weekly transfusions. But he persevered and his contributions made the News Leader good.
All three of them worked alongside me to reach this point in the paper’s status and I harbor no doubt that Larry and Sharon will continue this ascent, for if there is one thing I give myself credit for is conveying to them the importance of “making the reader care” in order for you, our readers and advertisers, take “emotional ownership” of the News Leader.
Again, I hope that to some degree I have achieved this for the benefit of you, our readers and advertisers, that you now care enough about the News Leader to take emotional ownership.
Thank you for both the brickbats and the bouquets.
Now, it’s on to the next challenge for me. And before you ask who that masked man was in the photo attached to this column, why, that was the Lone Ranger.
“Hi Yo, Silver! Away!”