It’s officially been a year since I took over as managing editor of the Mountain Democrat. The experience has been amazing, and I’m finding I’m so excited for what the future will bring.
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In the past 12 months we’ve made major changes to the newspaper. We’ve gone through a redesign of the print edition, and our Website has had a complete overhaul done on it as well. Many readers liked the changes, others didn’t. But progress will always have its bumps in the road, and we feel we’re putting out a better product overall because of it.
It’s important that everyone knows we’re nowhere near done, though. This is only the beginning. Our newspaper will continue to grow and adapt to the changing times, and we appreciate your patience and loyalty as we make the evolution.
What I’ve discovered more than anything in my year here is how great this community is. I expected to come to town as the new guy and have to work my way into the right circles, written off as too young to understand how things work. What I found instead was that I was welcomed with open arms to the amazing organizations in El Dorado County, and not just when I had a pen and pad in hand. People genuinely wanted to help me transition into the position and I’ve happily found positive results for all of us because of it.
Our newspaper is not just a product. It’s a representation of a community. We value the relationships we’ve built with organizations and people in the area, and we understand that we need them to make our paper successful. Unlike other newspapers, we don’t rely on Associated Press content to fill our pages. Our reporters work hard to dig out the most interesting local stories available, and we embrace news given to us by organizations trying to get their word out, too. We’re all a team with a very important function: Bringing your news to you.
Whether it comes in the form of a news release, a letter to the editor or a “My turn” column, we happily receive your efforts when you reach out to us. Sure, we may not always agree on what’s newsworthy, just like we don’t expect our readers to consistently agree with what we have to say on our opinion page. But that’s what makes newspapers such a valued tradition. For the time each morning — or afternoon or night — when folks take the time to give the newspaper a read, we are having our voices heard, across the county to our friends, family and even complete strangers. We are sparking active discussions that need to be had throughout our community. Whether we agree or vehemently disagree on the topic being discussed, it’s important that we get everyone involved in the conversation so that we may all be aware of the impacts what we cover will have on our lives.
It’s been an interesting 12 months. I’ve transitioned into a role that I find very rewarding. What started as a job has quickly become a lifestyle, and I’m enjoying nearly every minute of it (some minutes are more stressful than others).
In a nutshell, I’m thankful. I’m thankful to be employed in an economy where so many are not. I’m thankful to be pursuing a career in a field I love. I’m thankful to be doing something important, with an effort producing a product I believe is helpful to the day-to-day lives of our customers. And I’m thankful to be surrounded by so many great people while I’m doing it, both in my own newsroom and throughout the county.
One year is in the books and it’s been great. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to work so I can be here writing the same thing next year, too.
Patrick Ibarra is the managing editor of the Mountain Democrat.