My own version of 'stepping away'


Not to piggy back on an idea but I'm adding my hat into the “stepping away” ring to which couple of recent columns in this space have been dedicated.

I'm not stepping away in the sense that I'm winding down my career and readying for retirement. I'm a ways off from the that.

My definition of that is stepping away from the newspaper business, which also means the managing editor's position at the Enterprise. I have accepted a job outside of the industry, more in the communications world, in Omaha beginning Feb. 20. The Feb. 17 edition of the Enterprise will be the last issue I oversee as editor.

As the previous columns about “stepping away” have stated, it's not an easy decision to remove yourself from something that has been a part of your life for so long. In 2022, I hit a decade of being a newsman. Newspapers have been all I've known professionally and they've opened the doors to experiences I wouldn't have otherwise.

I've met presidents and celebrities through this job but I've also met people who have dedicated their entire lives to bettering and leading their small towns – celebrities in their own rights. Being a journalist has taught me to step out of my comfort zone and put myself in situations that required me to ask tough questions in difficult situations. I've learned how to lead, how to be cool under pressure and how to adapt when things don't go as planned. Journalism has taught me countless life skills and lessons far beyond writing and editing, all of which I'll carry through the rest of my life.

This was also a difficult decision because it meant stepping down as the editor here before I really got to know the community. But, I've enjoyed the time I've been able to share and tell your stories. I've gotten to report on exciting developments that will help carry the community into a new era and I've gotten to help pay respect to fallen, beloved community members that spent their lives living as an example for others. Along the way, I've met countless incredible people who allowed me to share their passions and remind me why I got into the career in the first place.

Starting a new job in the news business can feel daunting because you have to acquaint yourself with a brand new (to you) community and build the trust of both your readers and sources. But at no point in this process did I ever feel like an outsider and that made adapting to a new environment easier than it otherwise would've been. I also want to shout out the Rhoades family and my co-workers for accepting me and making me feel like a part of the team from day one. That, too, made my job a lot easier knowing I had the support and encouragement of everyone around me.

However, I am not leaving Blair quite yet, as I plan to commute to my new position for the time being. Like I said, I don't feel like I got to fully know the community yet so at least I get to remain in some way and continue to build on some of the relationships I've formed so far.

So why leave newspapers? That's a good question and one I don't have a complete answer for other than I felt like I was at a point personally and professionally to see what else is out there. Maybe I'll like what I find or maybe I'll miss the news biz and find my way back. No matter the outcome, I won't be able to find out without stepping away.


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