Change is sometimes hard, sometimes sad, sometimes exciting and always,always … inevitable. I am facing a change in my life that I want to share with you.
This will be my last column as editor of The Southern Berks News.
On March 7, 2011, I walked in the door of Berks-Mont Newspapers for the first time, as editor of The Southern Berks News. I walked in nervous and anxious about whether I could do the job. I was rebuilding my journalism career; a career that over the years had morphed from radio journalism to political PR and then corporate PR before evaporating as part of a merger. I reinvented myself in a job with a consulting firm – where I knew I didn’t belong. When that job ended due to the downturn in the economy, I knew I had another opportunity to re-invent myself.
I walked in the door here with lots of journalism and communications background, but it had been awhile since I had been a reporter. And I had NEVER done newspaper layout. But in my heart, I knew I could do the job.
And like riding a bike, it all came back to me.
My goal when I started was to share as much about what was going on in the community as I could, as accurately and fairly as possible. I am proud of the work I have done.
During these past two years, I have had the honor of meeting municipal and school leaders that are trying to do what is best for their communities in uncertain and changing economic times.
I have had the pleasure of working with law enforcement and fire personnel who daily, don’t think twice about putting themselves in harm’s way to keep me, my family and my community safe. I remember my ride along with the Exeter police department during one of their details. It opened my eyes about the jeopardy these men and women face every day.
I have been excited as new, local businesses have opened their doors in our communities – willing to take a step into the unknown.
I have been so proud of all of our young residents – students whose activities show a commitment to making this world a better place for us: fundaisers, Mifflin’s Dodgeball for Life and mini-THON and Daniel Boone’s very moving mock accident on the eve of prom. I have attended events that inevitably brought tears to my eyes; I can’t make it through Exeter’s annual String Jam without sobbing.
I have loved going to events and activities around the region, often dragging my kids under the auspices of, “It will be a great family thing to do.” And they always were. Honestly, we have done things that we never did before, even though we have lived in the area for more than 16 years.
We have explored Hopewell Furnace and picked apples there, we’ve gone to craft shows, carnivals, art shows and concerts, Christmas in Birdsboro and Exeter’s Christmas tree lighting.
I asked Palmer and Brannon what some of their favorite events were, and they both agreed that Christmas in Birdsboro was among their favorites, as was the Redner’s Family Expo. But tops for them both was the opening of the Fegley’s exhibit at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles.
One of the first things the boys both asked me when we talked about my new job, was, “What about all the cool things we did?” My answer to them was, “Now we’ll just have to go because we know they’re fun.”
In the past two years, I have met so many people from all across the community. Many of you have become terrific contacts that have helped me with my stories and have helped me become a better journalist. Many of you have also become friends.
I will miss covering the southern Berks region. I will miss sharing with you about the happenings in my life and the lives of my family – oversharing as my mom reminds me. But I know from talking with you, that I’m just voicing what many of you have thought or experienced.
So, I have “buried the lead” to some extent. What am I doing next? I am staying within the company, but am moving to our sister daily newspaper, The Mercury, whereI’m taking on the position of Business Editor. It will be a challenge for me. I am covering a wider area – and focusing my efforts on business-related stories. Once again I am nervous and anxious, knowing there is much to learn, but knowing in my heart I can do it.
I always want to be a good role model for my boys. When I think about the twists and turns my life has taken over the past several years, I feel proud and strong. While stressful to be sure, I am showing my sons that if there is something they want to do, they should go after it! I am also showing them that you can do anything and reinvent yourself at any age.
I thank each and every one of you for being a part of my life and for letting me be a small part of yours these past two years.
One thing I know for sure, I’ll be seeing you around!
Donna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org