Since graduating from college, I've had probably a dozen job interviews, but the way in which I accepted a reporter position in Salisbury, N.C. was a rather unusual one.
I sent my resume, clips and other information to the news editor at the Salisbury Post, unsure whether I'd even hear back. I've gotten used to sending out resumes and never receiving a response.
Meanwhile, I had to be at work — The Selma Times-Journal — in an hour. So, I showered and got dressed in short order. Before heading out, I checked my phone for texts or emails, expecting only to find a mundane batch of work-related emails. To my surprise, the Post's news editor had already responded. He asked when I could do a phone interview.
Within 36 hours, I completed the phone interview and accepted the politics and county government reporter position in Salisbury. There was no in-person interview. The Salisbury Post hired me sight unseen. It seems like things worked out, but I wouldn't hire someone without an in-person meeting. There are a lot of strange people out there.
Now, more than three years after I accepted a job in Salisbury, I'm leaving to take the managing editor's job in another unfamiliar city — Frankfort, Kentucky. This week is my last at the Salisbury Post.
I've got mixed feelings about leaving Salisbury for a new job, and I've found myself frequently reflecting on my time here during the previous few weeks.
My first byline at the Salisbury Post was about the hiring of a new county manager. My last will likely be about municipal elections. Neither the beginning nor the end of my time in Salisbury will be particularly memorable, but it's the time between that was more than I could have hoped for. From a federal lawsuit about prayer to potential coal ash contamination in private wells, I've had my fair share of serious stories. Fortunately, I've also had the opportunity to report on interesting local figures and events.
My time in Salisbury is something I'll for which I'll always be grateful. I came to work at the Post as a 22-year-old with more confidence about my writing than it deserved. I'm leaving with a greater appreciation for the work it takes to create quality journalism and an ample amount of experience doing so.
I'm particularly grateful for the many places I've been able to travel as a result of working at the Salisbury Post — a statement not common for most writers at modern-day newspapers. I've traveled to Richmond, Virginia twice for oral arguments in a federal lawsuit about prayer at Rowan County commissioners meetings, Washington, D.C. to write about the swearing in of a local congressman, Port Arthur, Texas to help a sister newspaper of the Post, South Carolina to watch the solar eclipse and a number of cities in North Carolina for various stories.
For more than allowing reporters to travel for reporting, the Salisbury Post is one of the best newspapers of any size in the state of North Carolina. Despite budget cuts, there's still serious investments in good journalism in Salisbury, North Carolina. The Post hasn't been immune to the business challenges of modern-day print journalism, but it's doing a better job than many in weathering those challenges.
Friday will be my last day at the Salisbury Post, and I'm unsure how to feel about what comes next.
There are still so many stories that deserve to be told in Salisbury and Rowan County and many that must be told.
I've enjoyed my time here, and for that reason I'm sad about leaving. Meanwhile, I'm excited and nervous about the next chapter in my life.