It was like returning home yesterday when I rolled up on downtown Dexter, where I started my career in journalism 21 years ago. I flashed back to May 1992 and remembered watching someone purchase a copy of The Dexter Leader from a newsstand box on Main Street, and how I thought, “Wow, I wrote all that content on the front page, took the photos and decided where everything was going to be placed inside the newspaper, from the editorial content to the ads. That newspaper is a total reflection of me and my efforts.” Ever since that day, I’ve been inspired to put everything into my job, and I’ve taken ownership of my decisions and what I produce, whether an article, photograph, newspaper page or an entire newspaper edition over the first 15 years of my career or video, audiocast, tweet, timeline, sound slideshow, photo slideshow, blog post or online post the last six years.
But when I returned to Dexter for the chamber of commerce’s breakfast, where I was to present on the Southeast Michigan Media Lab, it was for a totally different reason and it was obvious two decades of technology had changed things. My new focus is on forming news-sharing partnerships, recruiting blogging partners and community contributors, teaching social media and new media skills to the community and our staff journalists at 21st Century Media, and interacting more with our audience through community engagement efforts.
I received a warm welcome at the chamber’s breakfast and I am grateful for everyone who turned out to see me talk. There were some very familiar faces, like Paul Cousins, who served on the Village Council when I started my career and continues to serve today, and Karl Fink, a former Washtenaw County judge who has returned to practicing law in Ann Arbor. It was fun catching up with them, and being able to serve them in a new role.
You can check out video from my talk here.