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I’m pretty sure it’s a mid-life crisis.
But I can’t afford to buy a convertible, so I’ve decided, instead, to redefine myself – professionally speaking. Kind of like Madonna, but without the flair.
It’s with mixed emotions that I put together my last issue as editor of The Trimble Banner. I’ve decided to start my own business and see what else is out there in the world.
As of Feb. 28, Trimble County native Dave Taylor will be taking the helm at The Banner. It helps a lot to know that I leave the paper in very good hands. (See story, Page 1)
As I work to establish my new adventure, I will remain with The Banner and The News-Democrat as special-sections and online-content coordinator, and will continue to write. (You can’t get rid of me that easy.)
I told a colleague recently that I’ve spent the last 25 years trying to get out of newspapers. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my profession. It’s a demanding field; long hours, not always great pay, deadline after deadline after deadline.
Did I mention the long hours?
I thought I’d left the business a couple of times over the years. But, to quote Paccino in “The Godfather” part-something-or-other, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”
I blame the fact that newspaper ink gets in your blood. It’s a wonderful profession; it’s a passion, and deadline pressure is as addictive as heroin. Being a reporter and an editor, I’ve had many wonderful opportunities to meet people and cover events that, otherwise, I never would have gotten. I’ve traveled; I’ve lived in six states and one foreign country, all because of the drive I’ve had to work in this field.
I feel, too, that I have contributed to the communities I have served. I have told a lot of stories; I’d like to think I have helped people become more informed about their neighbors, their local government and their own corner of the world.
There is a lot I will miss. It feels weird knowing I won’t be sitting at this desk next Tuesday, working hard to get everything done by 2 p.m. But, the new things I want to do would either present a conflict of interest or require more time than I have to spare as an editor.
What’s great, though, is for the first time in my life, I’m leaving a job but not leaving behind all the friends I’ve made. My plan is to become more directly involved in the community. After spending decades being on the outside looking in, reporting on things other people are doing, I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting in the game, too.
I urge my fellow Milton residents to get involved and help city officials determine a plan to make improvements to downtown. The city is receiving mitigation funds as part of the bridge project. (See story, Page 1) One idea proposed by John Carr and Tim Sorenson of Wilbur Smith Associates is to establish a bike path/walking trail that would link the bridge to the city park.
That would be a good idea, if the park had more to attract people to it. Personally, I think the city should concentrate on improving the riverfront surrounding the bridge. It need not be as extensive as Madison’s riverfront improvements, but imagine making our side of the river as attractive as the Indiana side. People walking across the bridge would have a beautiful area to enjoy the river on both sides.
Carrollton has hired a firm to improve Point Park, and there are a few ideas in that plan that, I think, would work great here, too.
Contact your city commissioners or Mayor Denny Jackson to express any ideas they may have for such an endeavor. Their contact information is on this page.
Phyllis McLaughlin, soon to be former editor of The Trimble Banner, lives in Milton.