Leave it better

“Leave it better than you found it.”

As a young person moving out of my first apartment, this saying resonated with me, because of course, I wanted my deposit money back.

Older now, it resonates again, not because I want money; rather I want good character, for it is priceless.

021118_frontHopefully, I’m leaving The Westmoreland News better than I found it.  Thirteen months ago I stepped into a small paper office, with an even smaller staff.

Maryann, the office manager/advertising representative and all-around do-whatever-it-takes-girl helped me in many ways.  Brenda, the graphic artist, was my professional sounding board.  These two ladies make The Westmoreland News happen, week in and week out and I have no doubt will continue to do so.

I have had the pleasure of writing about the small town I love and the people in it:  from cowboys and cowgirls to authors and artists, and too many others to mention.  My desire was to shed light on everyday local people who do extraordinary things, many times inspiring others to do the same.

I’ve also had the pain of writing about crime, wrong-doing and death. These stories were often the most talked about and most criticized.  My desire was again to shed light, so the public could be better informed.

The Westmoreland News has a Facebook page now with 2,227 followers, and for a brief time, had a website.  Since January, we are a member of the Tennessee Press Association (TPA), giving us greater credibility and accountability than ever before. We changed the printing press time, so now local subscribers get Thursday’s paper on Thursday, and the racks are usually filled by 10 a.m.

I can’t cite an increase in sales, although I wish I could.  I did make small editorial changes that were probably not even recognized by most readers:  bylines for all stories, photo credits and a letter to the editor policy.

In all these ways I was striving to make the paper better.  In other words, leave it better than I found it.

Terry McCormick, very well-known to Westmoreland and the pro-football world, will be taking over, sitting in the same seat he had when the paper began.  I know he will be well-received.

I am leaving, but as my step-dad loves to say, “It’s not goodbye, just goodbye for now.”





One thought on “Leave it better

  1. I don’t know how it will work out for you, but my eight years on a weekly newspaper (proofreader, features editor, theater reviewer, stringer, one-woman copy desk) changed me more than I changed it. It improved my writing and my editing in more ways than I can tell. It also taught me more about the communities I live in than I probably wanted to know, but it’s all good. I’d rather know it than not. Good luck in your moving on!

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