Has it really been 30 years?
Where did 30 years go?
It seems like yesterday I?began working at The Minot Daily News, under the tutelage of sports editors Matt Gerszewski and Merrill?Schalow. In those days, I answered sports phone calls and actually wrote down the information on paper when coaches called in results from area games. Imagine that:?I actually used a pen or pencil and a piece of paper to write information down. My, how times have changed.
When I started in the business, there wasn’t much in the way of computers, and we laid out the pages of the newspapers largely by hand. I still have a scar on my thumb where Richard Fleck accidentally stuck me with an X-Acto knife while we pasting up a page. As the years went by, technology changed, and the process today is faster and more efficient.
Besides the professional progression I’ve made in the past three decades, from part-time sports clerk to full-time sportswriter to copy desk chief to business editor and finally to editor in 2000, there have been significant personal changes for me, too. When I started here in 1984, I didn’t even know my wife, Cindy, although we were both attending Minot State University. We met in 1986. We’ve been married since 1988, and our daughters Erin and Bailey are now 24 and 19 years old, respectively. My kids have grown up while I’ve been here, and I’m proud to say my wife and I are now an old married couple, having celebrated our 26th anniversary this past June. Nothing makes me prouder than watching my daughters grow from toddlers to teens to adults. I’m fortunate to have good kids, a wonderful extended family and a spouse who has supported my career choice from the very beginning. My siblings have always been supportive of my career, especially my brother, Barry, who preceded me in the newspaper business and and worked at The Minot Daily?News. Without his guidance, I doubt if I would have entered the business at all. Thank you all.
There are far too many good memories to list in this space, so I won’t even try. Unfortunately, the big stories that stand out are things like the 2000 train derailment and the 2011 Souris River flood. But there have been countless other good news items we’ve covered in my time that also won’t be forgotten. I’ve spoken to school classes and been part of Junior Achievement for a couple of years in my daughter’s fourth-grade class (she’s the teacher), and I’m always happy when children have questions about newspapers.
The names of the employees who have come and gone through this newsroom in my 30 years would fill this page. I’ve been fortunate to work with outstanding staff members, and I’ve tried to learn something from every one of them. I consider my co-workers to be friends, and I never felt that they worked for me. Rather, I always felt that we worked together, simply because most of the staff members didn’t need some nosy editor telling them what to do on a daily basis. They know how to do their jobs. I will carry with me fond memories of those folks, and of this building. The years of camaraderie I’ve enjoyed here will truly hold a special place in my heart forever.
I’ve appreciated the public’s input over the years, because I believe newspapers still play a vital role in the communities they serve. We are a place to find information, whether it be your horoscope, the latest sports score or what happened at last night’s city council meeting. Public input is invaluable to newspapers, even when a reader calls to disagree with an editorial or to lodge a complaint. To me, it means they still care about our product, and that is something we can never forget.
There comes a time in everyone’s professional life when it’s necessary to make a change, and for me, that time is here. I don’t regret for one second getting into the newspaper business; it’s helped make me who I am today. Over the last couple of weeks since I announced I was moving on, a few folks have told me that The Minot Daily News won’t be the same without me. I don’t know about that, but here’s something I do know: I won’t be the same without The Minot Daily?News.
(Bryan L.?Obenchain is the former editor of The Minot Daily News)