Thursday, April 24, 2014

Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868

4/3 Reporter's Notebook: Craig Coleman

Time as I-O reporter has been enjoyable

April 02, 2013

Do something long enough and it becomes second nature. After being a reporter for more than nine years, writing a lede -- newspaper jargon for the way a story begins -- should be cake.

Craig Coleman

Craig Coleman

It's not that easy, however, when it's your last official assignment. And the subject is yourself.

How do you sum up nearly a decade of stories, interesting people, wonderful experiences and, perhaps, most importantly, lessons learned in a few hundred words?

I think back to October of 2003 and the first few weeks of my first full-time job after graduating from the University of Oregon. I admit to then having a preconceived notion most people seem to have of a newspaper in a small town: There can't possibly be much work to do. Right?

Not even close. Writing, editing and designing from sunrise to sunset, a steady diet of night meetings and weekend assignments -- there's an incredible amount of effort that goes into producing every issue of a weekly newspaper. You have a small staff doing a wide array of jobs; that's given me a huge appreciation for doing more with less and for those who run their own business.

Working here taught me to truly value knowing a place. I've been invited into homes to hear stories both heartbreaking and uplifting while covering Monmouth-Independence and Western Oregon University. I've watched neighborhoods and downtowns change, and kids I first met doing articles on local elementary schools transition to college with academic, creative and athletic accolades in tow.

It's also made me impatient with people who have a hard time describing the community they call home. Come on, you should know where to head for the best burger or the ideal vantage point for a parade.

Lastly, it's made me realize how rewarding it is to be part of a team. The group of coworkers I'm saying goodbye to professionally is among the best -- and not just for a publication the I-O's size. You're lucky to have them, Polk County. That's not an opinion, but a fact.

How do you pare down thoughts on a rewarding career and describe what it means to you? Just speak the truth: It's been fun.

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Craig Coleman has covered Monmouth, Independence, Western Oregon University and much more for the Itemizer-Observer for nearly 10 years. He recently left the paper to accept a new position with the state of Oregon. We wish him the best; he will be missed.

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