How do you measure a decade?
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.