I never expected to find myself sitting at the big desk here in the newsroom. And while my six month tenure as managing editor at The Evening Sun comes to an end today, I must say it was both an honor and privilege to serve in that capacity, despite how short-lived it may have been. I can, however, honestly say I’ve missed the action and excitement that is the life of any good reporter. I’ve missed the courtroom and the sound of the scanner in the background in my old cubicle. And I’ve missed being out there on the street, among the people, chasing down a story or looking for that perfect photo. The past four years have been ... interesting ... to say the least, an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. I can still remember that chilly December day when long-time editor Jeff Genung welcomed me to the team, nervous yet determined to give it my best as the latest in a long line of cub reporters. That seems like a long time ago, now, and I’ve been lucky to work with some of the best this paper ever had on staff, from Jeff to Melissa Stagnaro, Tyler Murphy, Melissa deCordova, Shawn Magrath, Kevin Doonan, Ashley Biviano and Pat Newell. Add to that list the many writers who contribute to this publication every day, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m damn lucky to have landed here when I did.
And let’s not forget photographer Frank Speziale, who’s about the most unique character one could ever hope to meet or work with, hands down.
I’d also like to thank the various members of our local law enforcement agencies for their help and willingness to deal with those not-so-occasional phone calls and last minute interviews. In addition, I have to throw a big thank you out to everyone at Chenango County Court, from the crew at the DA’s office to the guards stationed at the front door. I was lucky enough to work with both Judge Sullivan and Judge Revoir during my time as The Evening Sun’s court reporter, a beat that I truly loved (and missed terribly once I took over as editor).
Needless to say, I managed to cover some serious ground as a reporter, from benefits to burglaries, new businesses and executive directors, fires, accidents, murder trials, missing persons ... you name it. And thanks to Mr. Kevin Doonan, I even managed to see what has absolutely got to be the best headline ever. You know the one ... Rabies plus cats = zombie cats.
I laughed until I cried that day, let me tell you.
As for the paper itself, there’s been some last-minute shifting about, and it looks like long-time Sports Editor Pat Newell will remain our local expert on everything sports related. Ms. Ashley Biviano, I’m happy to announce, will be taking the reins as Interim Managing Editor once I’ve departed, and I wish her luck with everything. I think she has both the talent and desire to see this newspaper thrive, and I’m sure Shawn and Pat (and Frank, of course) will keep her out of too much trouble. On a sidenote, we’re still looking for a couple brave souls to come on board in the reporter department, and all I can say is ... well, you’ll never lack for something to do in the newsroom, and there’s seldom (never, really) a dull moment.
That being said, I suppose I’ll be signing off. And while I’m excited for the future and what it holds, I’ll miss this place. For nearly four years I’ve walked into the newsroom never knowing what the day might hold. And now, as I prepare to leave by that same door, I’m wondering the same thing looking ahead. At 36 years old, I’ve spent more than three decades here in the Land of the Bullthistle, and lord what a long, strange trip it’s been. And I hope you’ll note that I managed to avoid any kind of rant in regards to ‘30 Seconds,’ somehow, but it is – without a doubt – one part of this job I will not miss. It certainly serves its purpose; I simply can’t abide how biased and mean-spirited it’s become. Regardless, I’m off ... and in the words of the infamous – and legendary – Ron Burgandy ... you stay classy, Chenango County.