LEGGETT: Saying goodbye is never easy
When I was 15 years old, I signed up for my first journalism class.
I don’t remember what made me want to take the class, but it was most likely because my friends were doing it, as comes with most things teenagers do.
That class changed my life.
Not only did I thoroughly enjoy three years of journalism classes where I built lifelong friendships, I also met a teacher who would become a lifelong mentor for me, and I found a career path to pursue that I loved.
Fifteen years ago, my dream job was to be editor of my hometown newspaper, The Winchester Sun, some day.
I’ve been living that dream for the last five years.
Here I am. The editor of The Winchester Sun, but also a regional editor for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which owns The Sun. That means I’m also editor of The Jessamine Journal and The Harlan Enterprise.
It’s been an incredible adventure to get to this point, and I’ve learned a lot about myself and my community, but I’ve decided to try something new.
For the first time since I was a teenager, I will no longer be a journalist, as I have accepted a position in health care marketing and communications.
My final day with Bluegrass Newsmedia will be Jan. 8.
This will be my last column, and it’s one that I wrote three weeks ago and revisited time and time again trying to make sure I express just the right thing as I say farewell.
I don’t think I can do that, though, because it would be impossible to put into words all that has come with a decade-long career in journalism or to accurately explain just how much this job, these communities and these relationships I’ve built over the years have meant to me.
I know. That’s cliche. Everyone says that.
But that’s the nature of goodbyes and new beginnings. They go hand-in-hand. To start on a new journey, I must bid farewell to a part of my life that has shaped and molded who I am.
During my time with this company, I’ve been a prepress compositor, a multimedia journalist, an editor and a regional editor. I’ve been humbled by the trust put into me from day one by my management team.
During those same years, I became a mom, and I’ll be eternally thankful for this job that helped me support my son and gave me the utmost flexibility to prioritize my family when I needed it. That’s not always the case for so many others, and I can’t express how much that has meant to me over the years.
I also can’t thank enough those people who have been cheerleaders for me and for the newspaper over the years. There’s a core group of people in our community who truly value the work we do at the newspaper, and that has made the hard days worth it.
And, even if you didn’t like everything I did over the years, thanks for still reading the newspaper. For continuing to subscribe. For supporting the free press in your own community.
Journalism is a difficult job. It’s a job where no matter how hard you work, you will never make everyone happy. But I want to express to my readers how hard the people behind the scenes of the newspaper do work — and it’s all for YOU.
I’ve met some of the most intelligent, dedicated, passionate people in my life working in newspapers. I’ve been blessed to call them my coworkers and my friends.
I’ve also been privileged to tell the stories of so many incredible people in our community. That is a responsibility I never took lightly and one that has changed my outlook on life. It’s instilled in me the understanding that everyone has a story to tell, they just sometimes need help telling it. I’ve been blessed to be able to help do that.
If I can leave my readers with one request, it would be to continue supporting your local newspaper.
Communities with newspapers have a treasure that they must protect.
I don’t mean that you always have to love everything or that newspaper staffs are not in need of kind, constructive criticism from time to time, but just know that the intentions of your local newspaper are good.
The mission remains the same today as it has for centuries: to serve you.
Give feedback, subscribe, help make your local newspaper the best it can be.
Our community will be better for it.
Whitney Leggett is a regional editor for Bluegrass Newsmedia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.