For the last 15 months, I've had the pleasure and honor of serving as the local editor of Barnegat Patch. Today, I bid you all a fond farewell.
Next week, I start a new chapter in an old home. I'm headed to my native city of Charlottesville, Va., where I'll be the news editor for the C-Ville Weekly, a great paper in a bustling university town. I'm thrilled to be taking on a new challenge in a place I love, but leaving is bittersweet. Being both your neighbor and your source of news has been a joy – and so much more than a job.
Some days have been more or less like those of any small-town reporter, spent standing in the rain at the scene of accidents and fires or staying late at marathon zoning board meetings, clacking away on my keyboard.
At other times, the nature of this job has broken down the wall that sometimes stands between the reporter and her subject, offering me a totally different view of town. I've talked to Barnegat High School students about local journalism while covering their own work on their school paper. I've toted boxes of canned goods down Main Street to the food pantry before writing about volunteers' latest efforts to feed local families. And best of all, I've had the chance to get to know many of you personally. You've joined me for coffee, invited me into your kitchens or stopped me on the Barnegat Branch Trail or in the grocery store just to chat.
That's what makes Patch remarkable. It's more than a website, a bookmark in your browser, an email in the morning. It's a community resource run by a familiar face, and a place to learn and share thoughts, ideas and opinions.
It's also much bigger than me. I've worked hard to build our local Patch site over the last year-plus, but its success can be credited to you. You listened when I explained what we do. You read and you wrote. And you kept coming back.
Barnegat Patch welcomes a new editor on March 19. Katia Raina is an experienced, award-winning local journalist whose name you'll recognize from the news stories and columns she's written for us over the last year. I'm happy to be handing over the reins to someone so competent and committed. Her contact information will be available through the site when she starts a week from Monday.
I hope you'll give her a warm welcome when she begins, and I hope you'll continue to be a part of Patch. Read, share, comment, blog, and keep talking to whomever's at the helm about what you want to see here. This site really belongs to you. I'm proud to have been a part of it for a while.
Wishing you all the best,