When I walked into the West Side Journal office as an intern three years ago, I never would have dreamed I would be here today writing this farewell as the news editor.
The day I graduated from LSU, I became the news editor of the Journal. I’m sure many of you were wondering what on earth the owner, George, was thinking, right along with me. I was as green as the tomatoes my great-grandma used to fry, but I was beyond excited to dive into the community.
During my year and a half as an intern, I learned the ropes, but it wasn’t until I stepped into the role of news editor that I learned the community. The latter was way more fun. Gram-mar and writing are exciting, but the stories some of you can tell blow me away. I’m especially thinking of you, Alcee.
In time I came to know so many of you, from government officials to farmers to business owners to retired folk who hand out cards filled with words of encouragement at TigerTrax. In every instance, it was a pleasure.
My goal when I became editor was to bring a fresh website to the readers of the Journal. Here was my thinking: Who cares? The people who live here and the leaders they elected who work to make the parish the leading example in the Capital Region that it is. Where are they? The vast landscape of the internet, but mostly looking at cat videos on Facebook. What do they want? Information and a few of those fluffy feel-good-about-where-you-live-and-restore-your-faith-in-humanity stories. When do they want it? As soon as they can get it.
So, we launched a new website and began updating it daily. We started sharing content on Facebook more promptly and more often to increase our interactivity with readers and residents. And it. Was. Awesome.
Mistakes were made along the way, like the time I put the wrong date on the front page (Y’all, I died). But when I look back on my time at the Journal, especially as the news editor, I think about all of the growth, learning, and laughter I’ve experienced. For that, I can’t thank you enough.
Three years ago, I started here as a derpy intern who was scared to talk in office meetings. Now, my Office Mama Shelli often has to shush me so she can finish her thought.
So this is it, West Baton Rouge. This is my farewell letter to the West Side.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 500 times: y’all can’t get rid of me too easy. That being said, I’ll be around and will resume reporting on a freelance basis once I get settled into my new position at Feigley Communications, a Baton Rouge-based marketing and advertising firm.
In closing, I would like to remind you to think of and care for your neighbor. A rising tide lifts all ships, and an extra dose of community camaraderie won’t hurt anybody.
My full trust, faith, and confidence are in Mr. Tommy Comeaux, the new editor of the Journal. He will do right by each of you, well, unless you’re not doing right by the community. That’s how good journalism works.
I want to extend an invitation to join the Journal crew for a meet-and-greet/farewell at Jack’s Place on Wednesday, July 3 from 5 until 8 p.m.
I look forward to seeing you all there!