BY GABE LICHT
As you may have read in last week’s Delano Herald Journal, I am stepping away from the newspaper. While it has been a rewarding seven years here, it is time for a change.
Many of you have been asking what that change will be. I will be the senior content manager for LENKER, a marketing firm located right here in Delano.
While I’m very excited for this new opportunity, there are certainly aspects of my current job that I will miss.
That starts with the people I work with, both in an official and unofficial capacity.
I want to thank my coworkers. Many of them are behind the scenes, and none of them get the kudos they deserve. If you correspond with any of my coworkers or my successor, please thank them, and afford them the same support and grace you afforded me.
Then, there are all of those who are not my coworkers, but I partnered with in a variety of ways.
Thank you specifically to those who have submitted items to be printed in the paper. One beautiful aspect of a local newspaper is local content that would otherwise go unnoticed. Much of it would be missed without the help of active community members; help that I hope continues.
Thanks also to all the volunteers who make so many organizations run smoothly and contribute to the spirit of community that makes Delano so great. It’s been a pleasure working with you to promote your organizations and causes.
There are also many great public employees who helped me keep the readers informed about important matters. I know you didn’t always agree with how I did everything, but I appreciated your professionalism even amidst our disagreements and my mistakes.
Those individuals’ bosses, the elected officials, have been great to work with, as well. I really do believe I have been spoiled to cover such an invested group of people. You all care about the communities you represent. I’m especially appreciative of those who run efficient meetings and keep everyone focused on the tasks at hand.
I’d be remiss not to mention the businesses that have supported the Delano Herald Journal. Whether you have been advertising since week one or just for one week, you are ensuring that this resource continues for your community, and you deserve a pat on the back.
And, finally, I’d like to thank everyone who is reading this, especially our subscribers. You’re a loyal bunch. Year after year, you pay your dues. I am very grateful that, even with the craziness of the past few years, our subscription base has remained steady.
Even more important than just paying to renew the paper each year, you pay attention. As the quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson states, “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”
You hold people accountable, whether by addressing them directly or in a letter to the editor.
You have also held me accountable.
I remember two specific examples.
One was a Facebook review in which the reviewer stated that you could learn more from walking down the street than from reading the newspaper. That didn’t make me feel great, especially since I was still establishing myself in the community. Instead of getting discouraged, I dug in, got plugged in, and did my best to become as informed as possible on local matters so I could pass it on to others. That same reviewer has since told me, “You’ve become such a reliable and valuable asset to informing our community.” It means a lot to me that he didn’t give up on me, or the paper.
Another individual wrote me a letter after a specific story. I admit I did not cover it perfectly, but I had striven to be fair. I was later able to explain that to the letter writer, who also gave me another chance, and became one of my biggest supporters. I’m very appreciative of this.
I’m not naïve, though. I know I’m not perfect, and I know there are people who focus more on what I get wrong than what I get right. You know what, though? I’m thankful for you, too. You challenge me to be better, and I believe it is just as important if not more so to have critics than cheerleaders. Everyone has a role to play in each community.
I am grateful that I have gotten to know so many people and have made some great friendships that I am looking forward to continuing.
Delano is a special place. Don’t take the positives for granted, and don’t focus on the negatives, because it is not like this everywhere.
I truly believe the spirit of community is alive and well. I thank you all for sharing it with me, and I encourage you to continue sharing it with everyone, from newbie to community staple alike.