I believe that goodbyes are tough for everyone, and this editorial is no exception.
Last Tuesday, Oct. 17, our publisher in Torrington, Rob Mortimore, reached out to me with an opportunity to become the sports editor for the Torrington Telegram and the newspapers in Wheatland and Lusk. The job comes with a significant pay raise, the chance to live closer to my family and honestly, the ability to make my journalist’s salary go far in a place where the cost of living is lower than in Sublette County.
The Pinedale Roundup is owned by News Media Corporation in Illinois. As the conversation with my publisher progressed on Oct. 17, he informed me that during a recent visit to the corporate office to discuss budgets for each local paper the company owns, News Media Corporation made the decision to cut a position in the newsroom in Sublette County. The sports editor opening in Torrington was presented as a way for me to land on my feet following the elimination of a position at the Roundup.
Last week, I made the decision to take the sports editor job on the other side of the state. My last day in Sublette County is Nov. 8. Please know that this was one of the most difficult decisions I have made and this weighed extremely heavily on me for days and nights.
I grew to love the community here in Sublette County, from Big Piney and Marbleton to Pinedale. The incredible mountain scapes within an hour’s drive of my place in every direction are probably unparalleled anywhere else on earth. And the people are, too.
Folks across the county welcomed me, a reporter and a non-native, to this beautiful place with open arms. The friendliness and genuine concern people share for each other here is exceptional. I love that a conversation can strike up at the post office, grocery store, street, sidewalk or even that trail you thought was remote.
The kids I covered on both ends of the county are amazing. Full stop. You all must be adding a special ingredient to that Finis Mitchell trail mix you send them off to school with (the kids decked out in shorts in February).
Each young person I was privileged to meet and write about – through sports, the county fair, Science Fair, All-State music and a variety of other programs – taught me something new about life. In addition to demonstrating exceptional talent, the kids always treated me with respect, kindness and acceptance.
And even patience when confronted with a dumb question about being a volleyball libero, spelling bee protocol or inventing a revolutionary new portable coffee maker.
For now, it appears that the decision to cut the editorial staff at the Pinedale Roundup to only two reporters is final and News Media Corporation will not be replacing me.
I ask that each of you please help me by being patient and kind to my editor, Cali O’Hare, and the staff at the paper – Joy Ufford and Eunice Allgood. Cali had absolutely no say in the decisions made by the corporate office in Illinois. I encourage everyone to reach out with support to the remaining staff here as they grapple with a reduced editorial team.
I truly appreciate all the folks I got to know in Sublette County. Who knows, maybe I will return some day.