It's been less than a week since I've been away from the newspaper, and I'm already having dreams about working there, filling out photo slips and going to assignments. I guess my brain is wondering what is going on and when I'm going back to "normal" so it's compensating with dreams. I'm keeping in touch with everyone via email but even that is sporadic as I'm trying to focus as much as possible on my new work and training and all that important stuff. I feel weirdly disconnected as if I'm going to be called at any second and yelled at for not showing up at an assignment or something. It's a strange feeling. Meanwhile everyone at my new job is extremely nice and supportive and makes me feel even more eager to do a good job and learn things as fast as I can. I know I need to take my time but I'm kind of used to being in control of the situation, and newness can be scary. I'm grateful I've got the time to learn things and not having to jump into big projects without a parachute. Meanwhile I watch the newspaper's stock dip further and further into dangerous territory and I get sad, and scared for everyone still there.
Yesterday was my last day at the paper, and it was a great send off. Lots of gifts, lots of hugs, and around 25 people at my send-off lunch. I felt very lucky. One of my best gifts was a photo book with images of me throughout my near decade with the paper. It was a really amazing gift. I've worked with a series of super amazing photographers over the years, and the current team is no exception. Photo chief Casey Campbell is a great photographer and amazing friend as well, and my dog considers him her uncle. He came to the paper with a background in communications and video rather than still photography, but has shown he really has amazing photo skills. Andy Cripe is always ready for his next adventure, especially if it involves nature or aircraft, or, the best combination of the two. He is extremely demanding of his craft and it shows in his work. Scobel Wiggins is a delight, and one of the most compassionate people I've ever met. Her emotions show through in her work in the best way possible and it's a great combination of skill and nuance.
Tomorrow is my last day at the paper, so today I spent time taking more photos, that is, in between writing assignments and listening to a bank robbery investigation on the police scanner. In this post I'll highlight some more of the writing crew, and tomorrow I'll finish up with the ever important and wonderful photography department. First we have Nancy Raskauskas, who is single-handedly getting the Entertainer out each week. In addition to all the layout, she writes most of the stories, takes some pictures, records, edits and posts podcasts and does a myriad of other tasks too numerous to mention. It's downright miraculous. Next we have Kyle Odegard, who currently covers the OSU beat and has been with the paper a number of years. Kyle is an avid blogger, and a bit of a history buff as well. Matt Nesnanski is a relatively new hire (little more than a year), and has done incredible things in the arena of on-line journalism. He's brilliant and we've been lucky to have him. He does the "Morning Minute" each weekday morning, a short video update. I make a guest appearance on Friday's morning minute for my last day (recorded this afternoon).
As I wrap up my last days I continue to pay tribute to the folks who remain at the paper. Today I'll talk about some more key folks that keep things running. First is our publisher, Mike McInally, who as both negotiator and buffer between us and our corporate owners has the toughest job in the building. Next is city editor Theresa Novak. Novak started as opinion editor and has since moved through the ranks. Her secret weakness is puppy stories, as can be seen in this photo. Next is Bennett Hall, the only reporter who has been with the paper longer than I have. Bennett is currently our investigative reporter and frankly is kicking serious butt in this position. He's also just a great guy, great dad to his sons Joe and Henry, and a pleasure to work with. My partner calls him "The Handsome Guy." Our newest reporter is Tom Henderson, who is on the cops and courts beat. We had the pleasure of listening to the police scanner last night during a bank robbery follow up in which an officer told dispatch he needed to "Get the reporter out of here," and we all knew it was Tom. Good job! To end today's tribute is Rhett Register, our dedicated news clerk, food afficianado and expert on all things Floridian. He and his wife Alice gave me the best Japanese plum wine the other day, man, amazing stuff. Plus he works really, really hard. More to come in later posts.
Despite all the scrambling these last few weeks, I'm also getting to do some really great stories that make me realize what I'm going to miss about working for a daily newspaper. Recently, I sat down with Macey, a sweet-tempered Jack Russell destined for surgery because of an old injury that had healed incorrectly. While it was hard to see Macey struggling to eat while not able to open her mouth, and to hear that it was more than likely Macey's injury had been caused at the hand of a human, it was also great to know that as soon as the story ran, people would begin donating to her cause. And sure enough, two days after the story ran, the non-profit taking care of Macey had raised $1,200 toward her surgery. This photo, taken by staff photographer Scobel Wiggins, shows Macey's true spirit. It also indicates I need a damn haircut.
I'm a native Oregonian who, up until recently, has been reporting on local issues in Portland, Forest Grove and currently Corvallis. I am now an editor of an internal publication at a local university, making the transition from the newsroom to world of academia. I continue to write, photograph and explore the world of podcasting in my work, and am eager to explore my new opportunities.