I have spent almost 18 years at the Idaho Statesman. If my Statesman career were a student, a friend told me last week, it would be a senior in high school, ready for graduation.
Journalism is an itinerant business. To move up, you usually have to move on. It’s fairly rare to spend 18 years at a newspaper, and rarer still to spend decades the way Michael Deeds and Chadd Cripe have done, or the way Rocky Barker, Bill Roberts and Tim Woodward did. The Statesman and its readers benefit from being in a place where professionals want to put down roots and get to know their community, their beats, their state, the people and Idaho’s culture.
But still, most journalists work a few years and then move on. When I came to town in November 2000, I expected it to be one more stop on the career express. By the time Jennifer and I got settled in Boise, we’d had 15 different addresses in 15 years of marriage in Oregon and Washington, D.C. We knew how to move.
That’s a long way of saying that after almost 18 years, I’ve got a case of senioritis. So I’m going to work this fall as a writer/producer for Idaho Public Television’s new documentary series, Idaho Experience. My soon-to-be colleagues have produced three episodes and are at work on the second season now. I’m awed at what they have done and excited to see where it goes next. When I’ve learned more about my work there, I hope to be able to share more about that with you. My new role also will give me an opportunity to work on shared projects between the Statesman and Idaho Public Television.
The TV office is just down Irving Street from the Statesman, so I’m not going very far. And I’ll stay connected, writing columns like this on a regular basis. Meanwhile, the Statesman will take some time to look for its next opinions editor. It will continue to ask for your letters and guest opinions, and look to reflect a variety of new local voices. The email address for opinion questions and content remains the same: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or reach out to Executive Editor Rhonda Prast or Publisher Rebecca Poynter. You can stay in touch with me at email@example.com.
Seventeen-plus years is a long time, and I have made lifelong friends through the Statesman. I consider myself extraordinarily privileged to have worked and learned alongside some of the finest journalists anywhere. Don’t listen to anyone who says they are less than honest, hardworking and human, just like you. They do their best to be fair and thorough at a time when it’s never been more important to be a fair and thorough journalist.
I’m also extraordinarily lucky that I get to try my hand at a new medium and a new kind of storytelling without leaving the city and state with which I have fallen in love, and where my two grown daughters live. Really, at 18, my Boise career is just an idealistic teenager, ready for a new adventure.