A lot of things have changed since then, and while I admit I wish some of them hadn’t, I recognize that most of them were the key to keeping the newspaper going in an era where more and more people prefer to read in electronic formats.
Five years ago I joined as the writer for the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo, specializing in the Journal. Eventually we merged the two into the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, which yes, was sad, but we would have gladly kept running two newspapers if we had the ad sales and revenue to support two newspapers.
Also five years ago we were owned by a corporation called Morris Communications from Georgia. While there were some policies under Morris that I liked, I have to say I’m not too sad to have had Forum Communications replace them. We were the only property Morris had in the north, and they really didn’t seem to realize how different our market could be from down south.
Since these things all changed, we have changed computer operating systems, we have changed layout operations, hierarchies were redrawn and our website was mixed around. Some changes were good, some were not so good.
On the positive side, we added a third writer on staff when Theresa Bourke joined more than a year ago, giving us a bigger staff than we’ve had for years.
More locally, I have experienced changes as well. My mother died two Februarys ago, I changed my second job a little less than a year ago and my family welcomed a niece, among other things. Professionally I hope I have developed and improved.
I’ve won awards from the Minnesota Newspaper Association almost every year I’ve been here. It started with a social issues story, then two business stories, a portrait and personality photograph, contribution to videos and multimedia, and this year a third-place award for best use of video and a second-place award for photo story. I was a speaker on one of the MNA panels in 2017.
For a while I was among the first journalists in Minnesota to be licensed for commercial drone operation. Five years ago I would never imagine being able to afford a drone, much less one with a camera good enough for news photos.
In five years I have become more of a community member. I’ve been on the Backus Fire Department only a few months less than I have been with the newspaper. I’ve gone from relearning photography five years ago to teaching community education photography classes. I have spoken at career day events and events in our area. There are people who come to me with wild food questions now, which is kind of fun but unexpected.
Last but not least, I most recently became a member of the Pine River Chamber of Commerce Board, representing the newspaper.
In five years I have written so many stories, and I was excited and proud to be a part of more than a few of them. To think I got out of college thinking of becoming a teacher and here I am.
Five years ago my life and my career looked entirely different. A lot changes in just five years and that time blows by fast.
I hope you’ve enjoyed at least most of my writing (hopefully all of it). If you had any favorites, I would be happy to hear which ones. Just drop me a line on Facebook if you get the time, or mention it if we run into one another.
I hope the next five years only get better. [Click for More]