OPINION COLUMNS

2012 opened a new chapter

By Bob Buckel | Published Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bob Buckel

Prior to 2012, it had been a long time since I was “the new guy” – anywhere.

As the year began I had just left a job where I served for nearly 25 years. I know some people thought I was retiring, but I’m too young and too poor for that. I had no idea what the future held, but I did know that after a few months to decompress I would need to go to work again. I just didn’t know where.

I enjoyed some time as a handyman around the house, basking in the glow of our first wedding, the buzz that comes from your baby being a senior in high school. There’s a scary/joyful uncertainty that comes when Dad quits his job.

So, it was a year of new experiences.

A chance inquiry brought me to the Messenger. I had known Roy and Jeannine Eaton and many other folks here for decades, and seeing them at press conventions had always been a highlight. Also, we’ve been members of a Decatur church for several years and have many dear friends because of that. So I didn’t walk in the door as a complete stranger.

But given that our job here is community journalism, it’s a monumental challenge to strip away 25 years of familiarity and start fresh. I’m used to knowing everybody, knowing the back-stories, where the bodies are buried, who to go to for the real scoop – even if you can’t always print it.

Luckily, we have people at the Messenger who can fill me in. I’m just not used to having to ask. It’s humbling, but that’s undoubtedly a good thing.

I’ve long had an appreciation for the value of “fresh eyes” in the newspaper business. It’s just been a long time since they were my eyes. But it’s my hope that a different perspective leads to insight for our readers.

Every community has a personality all its own, and if it’s lucky enough to have a newspaper, that newspaper has a personality, too. The Messenger’s unique style and personality are reflective of the community it serves.

I look forward to 2013 as my story and the Messenger’s continue to unfold together.

Bob Buckel is the Messenger’s executive editor.

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