McKibbin’s Scribblin’s: Walking Away With A Heavy Heart
Walking. I’m going to miss walking to work in the morning and walking home at night.
I’ve likely put hundreds of miles on many pairs of shoes and sandals over the past decade or more as a reporter here in Rifle. I had seven enjoyable years as the Rifle bureau reporter for The Daily Sentinel, along with three turns as either a reporter or editor for this publication. All together, for about a dozen of the last 16 years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many fine citizens of Rifle, Parachute, Battlement Mesa and outlying Garfield County. And – best of all for a storyteller – getting to tell their stories.
But time moves on and now it’s me who is moving on with it. This is my last issue as editor of The Citizen Telegram. It’s very sad at times, very exciting at others. For personal and professional reasons, I’ve decided to try something different. And that will also mean taking me away from the city I’ve called home for those many years.
As life goes on, things happen and for a reason. My mother lives on the Front Range by herself and needs some help from time to time. And I’ve been thinking for awhile that I need to be closer to her, as the only semi-close immediate family member.
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As most people also know, the newspaper industry is struggling and changing, trying to adapt at a time where instantaneous information is at everyone’s fingertips and on their cell phones. Businesses want to be where the most people are, so they place their advertising dollar with social media instead of traditional media. Newspapers have responded partly by cutting expenses, meaning staff, and asking everyone left to do more.
I’ve never been afraid of hard work, it’s been my pleasure. Still, there comes a time when you need a change. And family ties are the strongest, too. So I think my time is here to leave on my own accord.
It’s been a pleasure to have written so many stories about so many people and events in Rifle and the surrounding area. I’ve made good friends, earned admirers, made some mistakes and angered a few more people. Such is the lot of a journalist. We’re human, and we develop thick skins or we don’t survive.
This newspaper has been around for 111 years. I hope it sticks around for as many more, in whatever shape or form that may take in the years ahead. I firmly believe a community needs its own newspaper, and vice versa; a newspaper needs the support of its community. I’ve always felt that support from readers and the businesses that stuck with this paper through the good times and the bad. I’ve felt appreciated by fellow citizens of Rifle and want to thank them for that support and encouragement.
I know that support will continue next week and for the future. The Citizen Telegram will continue to inform and entertain, hopefully enlighten and intrigue.
So thank you again, Rifle, for letting me tell your stories, explain the issues and hopefully bring us all a little closer together as a community. That’s what it’s all about and that’s what a community newspaper is all about.
Rifle will always have a place in my heart as a small town with all the great things that brings. I’ll be visiting every so often, so it’s not good bye forever.
Look for me walking down the street.
Mike McKibbin is the editor of The Citizen Telegram.
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