Are you the right person?
Most of you who read this column or know me personally, know that I love my job. I love the people I work with, I love reporting local news, I love organizing and arranging events – and most of all I love this newspaper. This past July marked 17 years I have worked at the Jackson County Herald-Tribune and for the most part, I haven’t regretted a day of it. Sure, just like with any job, there have been ups and downs, but overall it is and has been the perfect job for me.
I will turn 65 in January. I’ve always been rather proud of my age, and I’ve never minded people asking. I believe I am a “young” 65 and have lots of energy and desire to do things. I just need more time to do that.
I am hoping to retire in the next year or so. Not completely right away, but just step back and let someone else guide this ship. There’s only one problem. I need to find the right person to do it. I’m not going to kid you, this job isn’t for just anyone. There is a lot of responsibility that goes with it, and it’s not for the meek at heart.
You will get your feelings hurt – a lot. People will say mean things to you. You won’t be able to express opinions that are controversial because everything you say reflects the newspaper. Everything you write will be read by thousands of people, many who can’t wait to criticize or correct you. You will work lots of hours, and you can’t just decide to not print a newspaper one week. The Jackson County Herald-Tribune has been published continuously since November 1906 and I wasn’t about to break that record.
But, the positives far exceed the negatives. You will meet awesome people. You will be on a first-name basis with county elected officials and leaders throughout the community. You will even get to personally know (and sometimes travel) with state senators and representatives and U.S. Congressmen. You will feel the pride each week when the paper comes back from the printer and you see the amazing job you and your staff have done – again. We don’t just publish newspapers, either. We do magazines and posters and lots of special sections, all that hopefully entertain and inform our community.
We are the watchdogs, as well. As we cover and report on school board, city council and other meetings, we ensure they are transparent and honest and good stewards of our tax dollars. I’ve often joked that as a reporter I can ask any question and most times I will get an answer. I’ve always been inquisitive (nosy) and this job allows me to find out stuff that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about.
The right person for this job will be kind, happy, and hard working. They will know how to spell, write, and have a good command of the English language. He or she will love people, love the community, and most importantly, love this newspaper and all that it has stood for in the past 113 years. He or she will take pride in the workplace and oversee the day-to-day operations without supervision. The right person will understand a budget and how to run a business and make a profit. They will be a gentle leader, treating their employees as family, standing beside them and encouraging them and not asking them to do anything they wouldn’t do themselves. The right person will know how important it is to give back to the community.
This job is never boring, though. Every day brings something new and there is always something to do, whether it is tracking down a source for an article you are working on, to finding someone to deliver newspapers, to arranging a candidate forum for a local election.
So, I am looking for the right person to take my place. I’m not just going to hand over the keys, though, and leave them to figure it out. I will stay on as needed to guide and mentor until my successor is ready to tackle it on their own. Once we both agree it is time for me to completely step back, I won’t have to be told twice. There’s a big old world out there that I want to explore. I want to spend time at my house, puttering in my overgrown, weedy flower beds. I want to try to grow things. I want to spend time with my husband.
Some of you may remember Jim Moser. He bought this newspaper in 2005 and still owns it. He is a pretty good guy and good to work for. He will ultimately have the final say in who is hired, but I need a potential candidate to recommend.
Are you the right person? Do you know someone who is? Have them contact me at the newspaper and we will talk about it. I came into this job as a former waitress and long time homemaker and mom. A college degree is not necessary, just the drive and desire to make this the best darn newspaper around. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. So what are you waiting for? I’m waiting to hear from the right person.