I’m a movie buff, so it’s easy for me to get excited about a cool-looking, shiny renovated movie theater.
But when I approached the Cary theater a few Saturdays ago, my excitement grew for another reason.
This would be my new office. Well, it will be some time later this fall.
How cool is it to say that your office is in a movie theater, right above the concessions stand?
That’s just one of the reasons I’m happy to be the new editor of The Cary News and The Southwest Wake News. The Cary News, whose headquarters has been absent from the town for several years, will be moving back to downtown Cary in the second floor of the restored theater.
Being situated in downtown, which is having a resurgence of its own, will be beneficial for many reasons. Namely, it puts us back in the heart of the communities we cover. That’s where the stories are. That’s how we get to know the issues people are talking about, and we get to meet the people who read our paper.
I’ve been a long believer in community journalism. My first job out of college was in Wake Forest, where I dove into issues of education and municipal matters and wrote stories about the people who make things tick.
My first editor always asked me, “What does it mean?” when I came back from a meeting with news of a big vote. How does that decision affect our readers? The question remains at the forefront of my mind.
I’ve spent the bulk of my career at The Fayetteville Observer, a newspaper that prides itself on telling the community’s story. The paper, like The Cary News and The Southwest Wake News, relishes local stories. But in the case of Fayetteville, “local” can be global in an instant. The city is home to Fort Bragg and the 82nd Airborne Division, among other high-profile units. Anything that happens around the world affecting a Fort Bragg soldier automatically becomes local news.
What does it mean? That’s easy. It can mean someone’s world is turned upside down.
I’ve covered a variety of topics: education, small towns, issues of growth and transportation, the arts, beauty pageants, bus crashes and horrendous weather. The common thread that runs through all of them is the people, and I’ve met some fascinating people.
I’ve met people who have made an impact, those who have volunteered their time or made sacrifices to make their homes just a bit bettter.
People have shared their lives with me, whether they were times of triumph or devastation. They confided in me and trusted me to tell their stories, perhaps so others could learn from their experiences or relate to them.
That’s what I love about journalism. I get to meet all kinds of people – those with titles and votes behind them – and those who quietly work behind the scenes to get things done.
In my first two weeks here, I’ve met countless friendly people who have told me about their schools, businesses and organizations, and how proud they are to represent their respective towns.
They’re thrilled about the new Publix opening later this month – Oct. 29 to be exact.
And they’re excited to see us in the shiny new movie theater downtown, not far from where The Cary News used to be. (Me too.)
Help me get to know your towns better. Invite me to your organization or school. Tell me why your community is special. Or maybe we’ll just catch up at our shiny new movie theater/office.
I’m looking forward to sharing your stories, too.