How do you mea­sure a decade?

Imperial Valley Press - - OPINION - SARAH MALAN Former Copy Edi­tor, Page De­signer Sarah Malan can be reached via Adelle Ta­mayo at amapilis@iv­pres­son­line.com

In pages, in dead­lines, in col­umns, in foot­ball sea­sons. OK, so it hasn’t been quite a decade. Nine years and nine months. It would have been nice to make it a solid 10 years, but my next ad­ven­ture calls to me.

I can’t begin to sum up how much I’ve learned about my Im­pe­rial Val­ley. Yes, my Im­pe­rial Val­ley. I’m sur­prised how much pride I’ve de­vel­oped for our lit­tle cor­ner of the world just by read­ing about it ev­ery day. What I’ve learned about our agri­cul­ture, city coun­cils, phi­lan­thropists and schools merely scratches the sur­face, but by and large I’ve seen far more good news than bad, leav­ing me proud to be a na­tive here.

To my best es­ti­ma­tion, I’ve built nearly 10,000 pages, in­clud­ing the front page you hold in your hands to­day. But I didn’t just build those pages with boxes and pho­tos and head­lines and ar­ti­cles. I learned to build them with con­fi­dence, cre­ativ­ity and ex­per­i­men­ta­tion (thank you, Peggy Dale). Be­lieve it or not, I be­came a stronger per­son for it, and that in turn — I think — I hope — re­flected in my lay­out.

I’m also a stronger writer, but not be­cause of prac­tic­ing the craft here on oc­ca­sion. It is much more be­cause of the re­porters I’ve watched grow, flour­ish and thrive. In coaching them to try new things I’ve learned the same my­self.

I’m hum­bled — this in­de­pen­dent-to-a-fault girl, who never liked group projects — at how much I’ve come to trust oth­ers’ unique ex­per­tise. Watch­ing re­porters toss sto­ries to each other know­ing an­other would be able to do a bet­ter job and mem­bers of the Copy Desk con­stantly learn­ing graph­ics tips from one an­other are seared into my mem­ory.

I’ll miss my InDe­sign li­brary, my grimy, worn-in AP Style­book and the name I’ve earned for my­self. And belt­ing out Broad­way af­ter hours when (I think) I have the build­ing to my­self. And I don’t know what I’ll do with­out Adelle.

Oh, Adelle. My work sis­ter, my twin, my part­ner. We came on a week apart, never sit­ting more than 10 feet away from each other, able to read each other’s minds. How she put up with me, I’ll never know. I hope to be even half as classy, witty and big-hearted as her.

I beg ev­ery­one who is within the reach of th­ese words to watch the Im­pe­rial Val­ley Press as it re­builds, climb­ing back to its former glory. We have re­porters — cubs and sea­soned pro­fes­sion­als alike — who work tire­lessly to bring your Val­ley to your doorstep. Our pub­lisher cares deeply about her new home here and her new work fam­ily. I am amazed at the news sense of our man­ag­ing edi­tor (former sports edi­tor), long since prov­ing his right to the ti­tle.

I’m not go­ing to lie, it has felt at times like we are claw­ing our way out of a grave. But we’re do­ing it, slowly and steadily.

Read­ers may remember how difficult 2015 was for us, with the news­pa­per’s sale and a bare-bones staff. But just be­fore the fol­low­ing New Year’s some­one had the kind idea to pull us all to­gether for ap­ple cider and toasts. Our morale needed it; it was far more somber than cel­e­bra­tory. With a tight throat and hold­ing back tears, I took the op­por­tu­nity to say that no mat­ter what hap­pened, we’re a fam­ily.

So how do you mea­sure a decade? Cer­tainly not in time. My first days at the Im­pe­rial Val­ley Press were so long ago I have to reach to remember them, yet I swear they were only yes­ter­day. I’d like to think that I’m among the luck­i­est, those whose ca­reers are made of friend­ships, mem­o­ries, laugh­ter, learn­ing and growth.

In June 2007, the IV Press took a chance on a fresh col­lege grad­u­ate with noth­ing to of­fer but a pas­sion for copy edit­ing and three semesters on a weekly school news­pa­per. I hope that since then I’ve made this com­pany proud — as proud as I have been to call it home.

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