My journalism career began with a series of phone calls. I was about to graduate from Eastern Kentucky University, and I was eager to find a job following commencement.
Just as any good small-town story goes, my plumber stepdad’s friend was the president of the Kentucky New Era newspaper company. My stepdad called up his friend, Chuck Henderson, and told him about me.
Well, Chuck called editor Laura Noeth, who then called me. She hired me as a Kentucky New Era intern ... over the phone. What an honor to write for your hometown paper!
The New Era has been in Hopkinsville since the mid-1800s. I had never stepped foot in the building before my internship and I had probably only been featured in the paper for an occasional goal for the soccer team.
From the moment I walked into the New Era, it became a home to me.
I have to admit, it was a whole lot of fun. Most of the people who worked in the newsroom were young, lively and smart. At that time (2008), the newspaper was an afternoon daily with a Saturday morning edition. We busted out the paper each morning, took a break for lunch and came back in to prepare for the next day’s edition.
We did great work. We held officials accountable and spread ourselves out to cover as many events, games and issues as possible. The sky was the limit.
We spent time together outside of work, watching candidate debates at the local walk-up and drive-thru liquor store, bowling, hosting dinner parties, giving haircuts, knocking items off our bucket lists, playing Shelfball and so much more.
We even had fun in the newsroom. We kept a log of funny things that happened to us from 2008-2011 and we labeled them “newsroom quotes.” That was one of the most important documents we had!
But the newspaper industry was doing pretty good 10 years ago. As the decade continued, ad revenue dwindled, as did readership. The rise of technology and a down economy threatened print journalism. The culture and society was changing.
Soon, many colleagues found other jobs and the newspaper made the bold move to change to a morning edition and to cut out one day of publication. Those days working together as a whole crew were over. Us journalists would have to work nights.
Even more people fled. I soon found myself one of the senior members of the newsroom with only eight years under my belt. (Mary D had me beat by almost 40 years though!)
When I got pregnant for my fourth child, I knew a change would have to come. My leaving the New Era to become a stay-at-home mom coincided with Scott Dillingham’s retirement from The Dawson Springs Progress. After my baby arrived, I landed in Dawson Springs to commit myself to community journalism in this ‘very special place.’
I have been here for two and a half years, and I am enjoying what this community holds for this newspaper and for my family. I know the value of Dawson Springs because I first learned of the value of Christian, Todd and Trigg counties from my work at the New Era. I recently celebrated 10 years with the New Era.
As you read on the front page of this week’s edition, this newspaper’s parent company, Kentucky New Era Media Group, was purchased by Paxton Media Group, effective Saturday, Dec. 1.
As the New Era staff transitions under Paxton’s leadership, there will be changes coming to all the newspapers. Please keep this in mind and send good thoughts to us over here on South Main Street. We still have stories to tell.