To me, one of the biggest roles of a journalist is that of a historian.
A journalist is charged with framing the events of their community as they happen. When future generations research the history an event, time period and/or person, it is the work of journalists that is often studied to place those historic moments into perspective.
That is a role I have always taken seriously, especially during my last two years while serving as the Essex-Middle River editor for Patch.com. In this role, I wasn’t just recording history; I was recording the history of my community. Essex-Middle River is where I live, it’s where I raise my children and where I plan on living for many years to come.
I’ve enjoyed being able to tell the story of my community, especially online which allowed me to often report the news as it happened. But, like all good things, there must come a time for an ending.
That is what I am doing now as today marks my last day at Patch.
It was a tough decision to make, but one I felt was needed for my family. I leave Patch with no regrets as in a short time I believe we helped change the face of journalism, in a world of a constantly evolving media.
When I first got into this business 15 years ago, there was no Facebook or Twitter or YouTube and the Internet was just becoming a focal point for newsgathering organizations. Today, there is no waiting for the morning or evening paper or tuning into the 6 or 11 p.m. newscast.
People expect their news as soon as it takes place. The pace at which news spreads today is mind numbing. I just think about last year’s story of the Perry Hall boy’s soccer team, which originally forfeited its season after doing the “” dance after a playoff win.
In a matter of hours the story, first reported by Patch’s Emily Kimball, went from a neighborhood issue to a story that made international headlines. The school eventually reversed its decision.
In the last two years, Essex-Middle River has been on the front line of many big stories, some happy, some sad and some just downright bizarre. I had the privilege of reporting on the efforts of residents to save the and the story of , the transgendered woman attacked at a Rosedale McDonald’s, a beating that went viral online.
I also followed a very personal story when I reported on the death of volunteer firefighteron Jan. 19, 2011. While I’ve covered similar tragedies in the past, this one hit close to home as Mark was a good friend and an usher in my wedding. To Patch editor Doug Donovan’s credit, he allowed me the chance to stay on the story, which helped me in my healing process.
I also can’t say enough to Patch and the community at large who reached out to me and my family when I shared the story of my son and our effort to purchase him a service dog to help with special needs associated with being a brain cancer survivor.
During these last few years, I have met so many quality and interesting people who have made a great impact on me and have done amazing work in the community. From the to and World War II veteran , this community is full of people who care a great deal about others and offer a reminder that there are still good people out there.
While I move on to the next chapter in my life, I want to say that I still plan on being active in the community and hope the story of the Essex-Middle River community continues to be told.
Thank you all so much.