Moving on to the next life phase

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 28, 2007

Goodbye. Farewell. So long. Vaya condios. Good luck. Wish you well. Take it slow. Easy come. Easy go.

Those are lyrics from a popular George Strait song, but they're somewhat fitting since this represents my final column as managing editor of The Greenville Advocate. I'm writing this in a bittersweet mood because for two years this newspaper has been my life and while I hate to leave, I look forward to working in my new occupation with the technology department at the Butler County School System.

What a long strange trip this has been.

Art was my first love in high school. I drew anything. Doodled during science and math class, when I should have been taking notes. Religiously sketched Henry in Priscilla Davis' art class at GHS, (and if you don't know who Henry is, then you didn't take art under Priscilla Davis).

But I also possessed a love of English. Literature, specifically. But I never translated my love for writing into journalism until I acquired my first job in 1999 as a sports stringer with the Troy Messenger. From there, I became sports editor - took a few years off to work in the non-profit realm - and then returned to the newspaper business as editor of the Luverne Journal in January 2005. A few months later I was named Group Managing Editor of Greenville Newspapers, LLC, and editor of my hometown newspaper - The Greenville Advocate. (Ironically, the person who hired me to string at Troy was Huck Treadwell, then sports editor at The Messenger, who is now working in Greenville as our advertising composer. Funny how things work out.)

The thing that made this job fun was the people I worked with. Until you've worked here, you have no idea how much fun can be had producing a newspaper and telling stories. Sure, the job was stressful - lots of late nights and long hours - but I wouldn't trade the relationships I have made at this newspaper for anything in this world. We cared for one another. You don't find that in big city businesses. You've seen companies where no one gets along? We're not like that.

Like most jobs, this one has had its ebb and flows. Highs and lows. Tops and bottoms.

While I was proud our newspaper received the 2007 General Excellence Award among state small town newspapers, it was not my proudest moment as a journalist. My proudest moment as a journalist was on the scene one cold January night in 2006 along with our then-publisher Dennis Palmer and Regina Grayson as we anxiously awaited the end of a standoff between a lone gunman and Greenville law enforcement at the Comfort Inn. That, my friends, was journalism. Local journalism. And that is why this newspaper exists. Not to win awards. Not to make friends. Not to make enemies. But to report the news, both fairly and accurately. That is why this newspaper will always be relevant.

The good thing is that an old friend will be replacing me. Everything comes full circle they say. Jay Thomas left The Advocate in August 2005, allowing me to become editor. Now, I'm returning the favor. Jay has a history of excellence with this newspaper and will step in and not miss a beat.

Thanks to everyone at The Advocate and everyone in Butler County who made my job here fun.

Kevin Pearcey is outgoing Group Managing Editor of Greenville Newspapers, LLC.