I have pondered for weeks on what I would say when this day came.
In February, I made a decision that I wanted to open a community newspaper in my hometown of Jenks. I put together a timeline and decided May 17 would be my last day with the Yukon Review.
I remember thinking to myself that I had a lot of time to come up with what I wanted to say to the community that I have poured my heart and soul into since March of 2016.
I could talk about how special the Yukon community is and what it has meant to me and my life. I could talk about the unique people that I have covered over the past three-plus years or I could talk about the people I have worked for, the current staff and/or the people I have worked with in my time here.
Instead, I am going to take it a different route.
Let me tell you why what we, and all the community newspapers across the state, do is important. It’s not just important to me or to the people who work in this industry. It’s important to you, the citizens of these communities.
That is the heart and soul of my reasoning for starting a community newspaper in Jenks. I believe every community in this state and every community all across the country should have its very own community newspaper. To think that my hometown didn’t have one broke my heart, so when presented this opportunity, I had to take it.
A community newspaper should be the beating heart of its community. Think about what the heart does … it pumps blood to every inch of the human body. It literally pumps life into our brain, arms, legs and feet. The heart keeps us going and works tirelessly doing it.
That is what a community newspaper should be and that is what community journalism is all about. A town’s newspaper should provide its readers with information that pumps life into them about their community. Its staff should work day and night to make sure this happens.
I graduated from the University of Oklahoma in December of 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. I am thankful for my time at OU, but my professors were more fixated on getting us to pursue jobs in bigger markets with larger newspapers. They didn’t talk about community journalism and what it was like working for a community newspaper.
I had to learn that on my own.
There is nothing wrong with pursuing a career in a large market with a bigger publication. I have friends who have done that and have great careers. However, getting to cover a smaller community and seeing our finished product and how much our readers look forward to seeing that week’s paper is not just where I want to be, but it’s where I belong.
Trust me when I say that community newspapers are the only media outlets that will cover every city council meeting, every school board meeting and every event that its community puts on throughout a year. No one really understands how important that is until they don’t have it anymore.
The last 38 months have gone by quickly. There have been ups, there have been downs, but I gave this community and this job everything I had.
News editor Terry Groover will take over now as managing editor. He is excited for the opportunity and looks forward to taking the Yukon Review to even new heights. For that to happen, he and the staff will need your help. A community newspaper is the beating heart of a community, but like a heart, it needs to be taken care of by the body.
Before I hit the road for Jenks, I ask the community of Yukon to rise up and take ownership in your community newspaper. A community newspaper is only as strong as its community support.
I will look back on my time here with fondness and probably shed a tear or two when I think about the memories we made. It’s been an honor being a part of this community.
This is Yukon Review managing editor Kyle Salomon signing out. Thank you and God Bless.