Saying so long, thank you

By Racey Burden | Published Saturday, July 7, 2018

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It’s time for me to say goodbye, and I really don’t know how.

For the past three years, my day-to-day life has revolved around the Wise County Messenger. I’ve been busy interviewing sources, writing stories and making endless phone calls. I’ve played busy while joking around in the office, idly scrolling through our social media feeds and debating the merits of various television shows with my colleagues.

Racey Burden

This is my first “grown-up” job, and now I’m leaving it. I’ve cleared out most of my desk and thrown away most of my old notebooks. I don’t know what to do with my business cards, nameplate or the plaque I won last year for being the “celebrity showmanship champion” at the Wise County Youth Fair. I don’t really need any of that stuff, but I don’t want to throw it out.

I’m sad to leave the newsroom. The people I work with in that room – Kristen Tribe, Richard Greene, Brian Knox, Joy Carrico, Joe Duty and Reece Waddell – are the best company I could have asked for. They care about their work, and they care about you, the readers. They work long hours for small paychecks to get you the news. I hope you appreciate them, even if you don’t know them personally. People talk about “the media” as if it’s one giant entity they can’t understand, but I promise you the staff in the Messenger newsroom are just your neighbors – your neighbors with access to a printing press, that is. And they all have a wicked sense of newsroom gallows humor and a steadiness in the face of often unfair criticism that I will miss greatly.

I’ll miss the whole office – the people and the place I’ve become so familiar with. When I first started here, I felt so unsure. Now, I’m sure I’ll be ready to drive to the Messenger Monday morning, only to remember I don’t work there anymore.

I’ll miss the towns and the schools I covered (some more than others), and I’ll miss the sources I regularly interacted with. I’ll miss all that free newsroom food and lunch trips to Fuzzy’s and meetings that devolve into lamenting the lack of continuity in the X-Men films. I’ll miss listening to people’s stories and writing them down.

I won’t miss police scanner duty, angry calls, crazy emails or boring, long meetings. But sometimes you have to take the good with the bad.

I’m excited for what lies ahead while already looking back on what I’m leaving behind. It’s an odd in-between space I currently reside in. I’m not sure it’s sunk in yet that by the time this column comes out, I’ll be off to other pastures. This is my last column. This is the last time my byline will be in this paper.

I don’t know what to say. I suppose “goodbye and thank you” will have to suffice.

Racey Burden has been a staff writer at the Messenger since May 2015. Friday was her last day. She will start flight school later this year to receive her commercial pilot’s license.

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