After more than three years at The Herald I have made the difficult decision to move on to the next chapter of my professional career and will be leaving the paper—and journalism—for a marketing position. My final day is Friday, Nov. 17.
What can I say?
Working at The Herald has been nothing but a tremendous experience. I’ve met some great people in the communities this paper serves in Slope and Hettinger counties. I also have had some incredible opportunities in my role as editor, including interviewing Hollywood superstar Michael J. Fox two years ago when he climbed White Butte, raising awareness for Michale J. Fox Foundation that supports Parkinson’s disease research.
I’ve also had my fair share of critics, which is to be expected in this line of work. But I don’t dispel the critics. Journalists need to be called out and critiqued to keep them honest, and keep the truth on the pages. I hold no grudges towards those that disagreed with a stance or an article with my name on it.
This job, with it supporters and detractors, has helped me grow professionally. In hindsight, however, I think it has had more of an impact on my personal life. Being an editor/reporter has increased my self confidence exponentially—you don’t know courage or confidence until you go to your first city council meeting with flash photography!
I hope I did the paper justice.
As most of you know, I did not live in any of the communities this paper covers. But I always made sure to get to the games, attend the events, and be a familiar face in the community when I could.
Is there more I could have done?
Yes, of course there some things left on the table that I’m left wondering ‘what if?’
And as my career with Country Media progressed I was given editorial control of two more publications, which undoubtably pulled some of my attention away from The Herald, which has caused me some regret.
But I can say with 100 percent confidence that I always worked as hard as I could, and tried to give you the best product you could have each week.
The Herald, and the communities it serves, will always hold a special place in my heart. Everyone made me feel welcomed and I’ll never forget the first newspaper job I had, and what it taught me.
I leave you with this; as confidence in print journalism wanes, don’t forget your community newspaper. Buy a subscription, place that ad, and send in your photos. A community newspaper is such an important part of rural America, and if it ever leaves, it’s unlikely to return.
So to residents of Slope and Hettinger counties…thank you for all the memories!
Cole Benz has served as Editor of The Herald since April 2014.