One year down…

It was this time last year when the Henderson Daily News decided to take a chance on a pompous and ostentatiously erudite fellow from an obscure corner of Rusk County…  that’s right, me.

This week marks the first year of my tenure as staff writer and photographer for our local paper of record.

My first workday was Monday, Aug. 24 and my first byline appeared on Tuesday, Aug. 25…  which was was followed by the first complaint to my editor on Wednesday and the first verbal reprimand on Thursday.

Such has seemed to be the pattern I’ve followed ever since.

I saw this day coming a couple weeks ago and first began contemplating what this occasion marks for me. I’m not the sort of person who disregards even the most trifling of milestones, and I think one’s first year at a job can give a strong indication as to what can be expected from them in the future.

On that note, perhaps I should start looking for a new job right now?

All kidding aside, I can honestly say that my first year with the Henderson paper has been an educational and personally enriching experience.

I’ve learned more about city, county and school budget matters than I ever wanted to know but I’ve also had the privilege of getting to know many excellent people in local government, serving without compensation save for the noble satisfaction of stewardship.

Furthermore, I’ve come to appreciate and even, on a certain level, enjoy the often-tedious work that goes into serving on boards and councils for municipalities and institutions.

Combined with this, I have been forced to develop a skill and craft that I hope to spend the rest of my life perfecting: writing.

I treasure the written word and have gained considerable experience in what it is to communicate well, and within the established conventions of professional journalism. Among these is a strict adherence to what is termed AP-style, with another being to avoid tired old clichés like the plague.

There is also the honor I have enjoyed to act after the interests of my fellow citizens.

Whether it be such far-ranging complaints as that of foul animal carcasses being buried alongside a county road, fears that their concerns were not being heeded by elected officials, or just a community event that needs to be promoted. I take your concerns seriously, and I hope that I have upheld the trust you have given in sharing these with me.

There’s a scene in the classic film Citizen Kane where the titular character pens a “declaration of principles” by which he seeks to inform his readers of “all the news, honestly,” and that “no special interests will be allowed to interfere.”

I know it’s idealistic and even a bit naïve (especially given our present cynical and jaded Age) but not a day goes by where I do not think of that scene.

Though it might sound high-minded or self-indulgent, I believe that what I do is important and that the names of our readers are far more important than those on the masthead.

I know that the Henderson Daily News has been rolling along just fine well before I ever plied my skills in its employ, and I know it will do so long after I am dead and gone.

But is has been my pleasure to be a part of it for this year, and I can only wonder at what the future holds.


4 thoughts on “One year down…

  1. Here’s to hoping that you are guided by those principles more faithfully than Kane was, and that you retain the edge of the ironical nature of your writing.

    “…another being to avoid tired old clichés like the plague.”

    That one made me smile.

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