On March 13, 2006, I walked out of my barely unpacked Petersburg apartment and went to my first day as a reporter in a daily newspaper newsroom. I didn’t intend to stay long — I wanted to be a copy editor, and when I saw that a position opened in Richmond, I applied for it.
I regretted it, because I hadn’t even been in Petersburg for a month, so I turned down going through the next stage of the application progress.
It took me 10 years of trying to reverse that and get to Richmond. Six months later, I finally wound up on that copy desk.
It was a long, winding, crazy road. I have countless stories. I’ve done so many things. I’ve donated so many hours both on and off the clock. It’s hard to picture life without journalism. The majority of this time has been in Central Virginia.* I can’t imagine life without that, too.
There was this one time in Charlottesville when I was up past 2 a.m. I was updating the paper’s website because there was an armed standoff and Katy was there, feeding me information. It didn’t matter to either of us that no one was on the site at the time or that it was most likely that it would go on well into the morning. We did it out of duty to the profession. News was happening. It was our duty to disseminate it.
I’ve said it once before: This isn’t a career — it’s a lifestyle.
It’s been a great 11 years.
*Charlottesville is near the geographic center of Virginia, so all but six months of my career has been in Central Virginia. Since it’s such a nebulous term, my newspaper doesn’t capitalize the “C.” Charlottesville did, and I’m sticking to it.