Moving on is sometimes the way of things, and it’s never easy. So it is with a bit of a heavy heart I say goodbye to The Madisonian, Ennis and Madison County.
I’m leaving after Thanksgiving to become the Opinion Page and Community Editor for the Helena Independent Record. It’s a great career opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to the new challenge. But it’s not an easy move for me or my family. In the nearly four years we’ve lived in Ennis we’ve made many friends and it will be very hard to say goodbye.
When we moved here in 2009, our daughter wasn’t even six months old. She learned to walk and talk in our rental on First Street. She made her first friends at Kid Connection. Ennis is her hometown. It’s not easy to leave something like that.
When you’re the editor of the local newspaper, the job becomes a defining part of how people know you. That’s been very true in Madison County. We made a lot of changes to the newspaper, which has been published for 140 years. And thankfully the community embraced those changes. Thank you.
I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish at The Madisonian in nearly four years. We’ve grown the newspaper in both size and content, added two websites and now an e-edition. We’ve published several special publications and hosted a few community events. Our goal through it all has been to serve the community and our readers by providing them essential information for making decisions in their lives. We’ve always tried to encourage their engagement with issues in the community. Sometimes that is as simple as printing a dining guide to let everyone know where to go out to dinner. Sometimes it’s as complicated as covering school board politics.
As the editor, I often get the praise for the changes at the newspaper, but in reality I’m just the face of the operation. None of the changes we’ve made would have been possible without owners who had a strong vision for the paper and a hard-working staff willing to all pull in the same direction.
The Madisonian owners, Jill Nakasone and Steve Perrault, have always had the single focus of providing the communities of Madison County with a high quality and community focused newspaper. To that end they allowed me to make changes I felt were necessary, providing guidance and direction along the way.
I’m also very proud of the staff we’ve put together here: Terri runs the office and helps edit the paper, Erin is our designer, Ben is our reporter and photographer, Sara sells advertising and Susanne is the advertising and circulation manager. Each one of them believes deeply in the mission of the newspaper and has been a pleasure to work with.
The important thing our readers should know is the commitment to reporting accurate and timely news will continue. As will our belief that the newspaper continues to be a critical economic development tool for all our communities. We’re here to serve you and that will not end with the changing of editors.
I love The Madisonian. I love the newspaper it has become and the path it’s on. As the communities of Madison County continue to grow and change, so will The Madisonian.
I also love how important the newspaper is to you, our readers. You’ve never shied away from telling us how much you like the changes we’ve made, nor have you hesitated to voicing your frustrations when we’ve missed a story or got something wrong. Through the door of our office have walked people who came to hug me and a few who came to cuss me.
One last thing, and probably the most important – I couldn’t have made it as editor here without the unwavering support of my wife Renee. Working for a newspaper often means late nights and working weekends. It means leaving home before your baby wakes up and getting home after she’s gone to bed. Renee’s always supported me and my work because she believes in it as much as I do and because she loves me. I’m a lucky man.
Thank you Madison County for four wonderful years and for helping me everyday to be a better reporter, editor, leader and businessman.