I'm writing this at my desk in the newsroom on Saturday while I put together the Sunday nation/world section. I've been doing this same job every weekend for most of my career. My first assignment on my first job out of college in 1998 was to handle nation/world coverage for The Herald in Rock Hill S.C., and I've been doing it on and off at every paper I've worked at since. Sometimes I do stints of straight copy editing. Other times, I'm supervising the copy desk or some portion of it. In the end, I always seem to come back to the wire section.
But tonight is it. This is my last shift on the copy desk for the foreseeable future. Maybe ever. On Monday morning, I start at my new position as assistant business editor for The Denver Post.
In physical terms, that moves me over two rows of desks, which comes to about 50 feet. In terms of my job, this is big move. Also, a good move. The newspaper industry is changing. Newspapers are focusing more heavily than ever on local news; this is because national and international news is all over websites and social media. You can get your wire news anywhere, but local news is still, well, local. It's newspapers' bread and butter. I've seen what I fear is the writing on the wall for a long time, that newspaper journalists like me whose focus is entirely on nation and world coverage will, sooner or later, be on their way out. And I don't want to be shown the door.
That's not the only reason for the move, though. I want a new challenge. I'm one of those people who is constantly looking to learn new skills and do new things. In this new position, I will be working with our talented business staff. I'll be taking more of a hand in news production for the newspaper's website and other digital platforms. I'll be stretching my management muscles, which I haven't done in awhile.
Another bonus: For the first time ever in my career, I will be working a 9 to 6 shift, Monday through Friday. No more nights, no more weekends. I'll see my husband and kids more.
I'm not naive. There will be a learning curve. I'll ask stupid questions and make mistakes. On the other hand, I have strong news judgment and editing skills developed over almost 20 years spent in newsrooms, and the abilities to learn quickly and work well with others. Those will get me through until I settle into my new role.
So, goodbye, wire desk. Hello, business desk, and a new adventure in my career.