By the time today’s edition has been put to bed and the ink has dried on the newsprint, my office has been cleaned out and my time as the Publisher & Editor of your newspaper has come to an end.

Shortly after I was promoted to this position, I wrote in my first editorial page contribution that The Newport Plain Talk was the community’s newspaper and that I was just given the pleasure to lead and guide it.

For years, I have preached like the town crier that a community newspaper is what a community makes out of it. If a community thinks its newspaper is good, then that newspaper will thrive and flourish.

Just the opposite is true as well.

I hope you think we produced a quality product three days a week over these past 26 months.

My goal was to be informative, yet entertaining and enlightening of the content we produced. Showing you local faces and names and stories, while mixing in a sampling of regional, state and world news, was our mix of trying to find ways to keep you informed in a variety of ways.

A lot of it was a change from the normal you were used to. A bit of a traditionalist myself, the need to make the newspaper viable to younger readers, while satisfying the subscribers who have been with us forever, was a challenge as we try to push the industry into the 21st century.

It made me smile when many of you told me you preferred your news on a piece of newsprint, instead of on your mobile device. Stories can be told digitally, but there’s something about those six-column, 100-point font headlines, or 15 inch-tall striking photo, that jumps off the page, that can’t be replicated on an iPhone screen.

My passion and goal were to making your paper the best paper in the state and to tell your stories as best we could. We attempted to immerse ourselves in the community to try to accomplish those goals.

With that in mind, I would like to issue a challenge to those reading these words. As I’ve written several times in my Op/Ed page pieces over the past two years, my repetitive message would be: Be involved and Be Informed.

A community is defined as “a group of people living in the same place” or “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals.”

Get out there and know your fellow neighbors. Visit with them. Be involved.

And by being involved, I don’t mean posting on these local Facebook sites that tout themselves as a hub of keeping you informed of local happenings, but often turn into a page full of hate and vitriol. There’s more to life than what happens on social media pages and local governments can not be governed in that fashion.

I mean get out there.

Like in the good old days, that means leaving your house.

Attend fun events. There’s plenty of them.

Attend meetings. There’s more than plenty of those.

Just like a community newspaper, your community is what you make of it. So make it the best you can. Positive comments and remarks go a whole lot longer on transforming your community than bashing others and dragging names through the mud.

With that said, my time here is growing even shorter by the keystroke. I’ve been blessed that this job, in the various roles I’ve held over the past 16 years, has allowed me to get to know many of you.

More importantly it’s allowed me to call many of you friends over the years.

You all were the ones who made this choice one of the toughest I’ve ever made.

As I’ve told many of you over the last three weeks, I’m not dead, nor dying. I’ll be around.

Graciously, the newspaper is allowing me to remain on a part-time basis to pitch in from time to time, so you may even see my byline or photo credit along the way.

Godspeed to you all.

-30-

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