For over a year I have been opining in the pages of The McPherson Sentinel, and now my time as a columnist with that newspaper has come to an end.
That isn’t to say, however, that I am giving up on column writing, reporting and news photography.
I have been hired as the new editor of The Ledger, which is the weekly newspaper that serves the Inman and Moundridge communities. I start Thursday morning.
I have greatly enjoyed my time as a columnist with The Sentinel. As a journalism student, it was invaluable to be able to practice my craft on a professional stage for a quality, community-centered news publication.
I thank everyone at The Sentinel, both past and present, for the opportunity to achieve the dream of being a professional newspaper columnist.
Specifically, I must thank Gary Mehl, The Sentinel’s publisher for allowing me to run my column week after week. Also, I owe deep gratitude to part-time reporter Carol Dreiling, who helped me get the columnist gig while she was still reporting fulltime for The Sentinel.
Of course, I cannot forget Sentinel managing editor Anne Hassler and staff writer Rhonda King. These two have been the reason my column has appeared every week. They were the two to which I would e-mail my opinion pieces, and they would do with them whatever necessary to get them onto the page.
I strove to be as timely as possible with everything I wrote. I attempted to cover news items with both local and national implications that were still of interest to Sentinel readers.
Sometimes my columns lightheartedly discussed topics such as bathroom etiquette at specific restaurants, while others dealt with more serious topics of extreme importance to me and the people I hoped read my column every week.
No matter what it was, though, I enjoyed writing every article, even the weeks when I was staring at a deadline and praying for a column topic to appear out of thin air.
It is a sad time to be no longer writing for The Sentinel, but at the same time it is a time of joy for me. I am getting the chance to do something I have dreamed of doing since the journalism bug first bit me.
I look forward to working with Robb and Martha Reeves, publishers of The Ledger. I believe they are progressive and innovative, and I see a lot of possibilities with their newspaper.
I think I will be a good fit at The Ledger, and I am thankful for the opportunity to be the editor.
Regardless of where I work, though, I am just happy to be able to practice journalism. I feel so lucky to live in a country that allows for a free press to live and prosper. I am glad I, along with every other United States citizen, am afforded the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Before I graduated from Wichita State University with my bachelor’s degree in communication, I thought I needed to go to a big city to do important journalism, but I quickly learned differently by seeing how vital the hometown newspaper was to the Greensburg community after the E-F5 tornado nearly wiped the town off the map on May 4, 2007.
My hero, Rob Curley, hammered this point home further by recently leaving the prestigious Washington Post for the unique Las Vegas Sun newspaper, which he compared to the Kansas newspapers at which he got his booming journalistic start.
Great journalism can take place anywhere, and Kansas is the perfect place for that to happen.
I am proud to be from this state, and I am even prouder to be a Kansas journalist.
Once again I thank The Sentinel for everything it has given me. I have been prepared well for the future of important, community-centric journalism.