I was reminded recently that Sunday marked five years since I became the managing editor here at the Branson Tri-Lakes News.
In some ways, it seems like just a few weeks ago that I took over from outgoing managing editor Mindy Honey (who is doing an outstanding job with the Skaggs Foundation, by the way), but then, sometimes, I think about the many highlights – and occasional lowlights – along the way, and it seems more like 15 years.
This is a job I take very seriously. Not that I’m always a serious person – one has to have a sense of humor in a profession that comes with stressful deadlines and the occasional dip into unhappy news.
But I’ve spent most of the last 18-plus years in journalism, and I value our responsibility here at the Branson Tri-Lakes News providing important information for members of this community.
That’s especially true at a community newspaper like ours. While you can go online and get whatever information you need, or want, about the federal government and global issues or what the latest celebrity did or who is the newest member of the royal family, you come to us for information to know the accomplishments of your neighbors or your neighbors’ children, who to vote for in elections, what new businesses are opening in your area, what’s going on in your schools.
That’s the type of information you can’t typically find on your phone.
It’s become a bit of a crusade of mine to try to convince people that their local news is vitally important.
It’s unfortunate that, while so many people vote in presidential elections, so few vote in municipal elections. It’s unfortunate because individuals elected at the local level are much more likely to have an impact on your day-to-day life.
I will continue to try to spread that message.
For those of you who don’t know, my time here at the Branson Tri-Lakes News began in September of 2000 when I got a job in the press room. In December I became a reporter.
I worked here until January 2007, and in March of that year, I started at the Springfield News-Leader.
I worked there until 2013 when my position (Newspaper in Education reporter) was eliminated. I was welcomed back to this newspaper and, May 5, 2014, I became the managing editor.
I am fortunate to have a wonderful staff of reporters – Joshua Clark, John Robinson, Jim Connell and (the newest) Tim Church – who work hard to bring important information to the community. I have also worked with many other talented reporters here since my return, such as Kris Collins, Sara Karnes, Elizabeth Barmeier, Lauren Healey, Pat Dailey and Mark Humphrey. I’ve also worked with some extremely talented interns, including Emily Cole, Ann Marie Temple, Kora Chrzan and John Robinson (who is now with us full time).
And of course, I worked with Mindy Honey when she was the editor. I have been quite fortunate.
I ask forgiveness if I left anyone out.
I don’t know what the future brings. So whether I do this job another five or 15 years (or five or 15 days, although I have no plans to go anywhere) I look forward to helping you, the readers, be fully informed about your community.
I appreciate all the readers who make it possible for me to do this job. Thank you.