Thursday, April 17, 2014
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
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.
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.
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.