As 2018 ends, it’s easy to reflect and think ahead

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, December 26, 2018

We’re almost to the end of 2018, now that Christmas Day has passed and the New Year is just a couple days away.

It’s been a busy year for myself, and when something comes to an end, it’s only natural to reflect and think about what the year has become.

I’ve lived in Alabama for about four months now, as my wife and I got here in August due to her job as an instructor at Auburn University.

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After searching for employment for months, I came across the job posting at the Valley Times-News and now I have been reporting the news for all you fine readers on a daily basis since Oct. 29.

Getting my groove back in the reporting world has been fun in the Greater Valley Area. I’ve met mayors, police chiefs, council members and several interesting people throughout the community.

Moreover, I’ve had the chance to report breaking news with a false bomb threat that was spread nationwide, an election in November and was grateful enough to approach a touchy topic of suicide and depression throughout the state.

There’s been plenty to keep me busy, and there is so much potential for stories to be told in this region. I can’t wait to continue to meet people and learn everything I can.

I started this year in Southern Illinois on a different path with no way of knowing that I would be in the south by the end of the year. However, as with reflection of the year that just was, it’s just as easy to think about what the new year will bring.

The Valley Times-News will spend the rest of the week publishing stories from throughout 2018, touching on many of the big stories of the year. While complying the stories and photos from the year, it gives me hope we (myself and the community) can come together to do some great work this coming year.

That work includes covering the community extensively during council meetings, breaking news and telling the stories of its residents. But that also includes talking about the issues that need to be discussed.

I don’t know what those issues are just yet, but I want to learn. I can’t wait to learn.

Being a journalist isn’t just recording what happens in a council meeting or taking a photo of a new business opening — although those things are critical — journalism can also be about being an advocate for positive change.

Positive change can sometimes mean asking tough questions and not turning a blind eye to something because it’s too hard.

Part of the role of the newspaper in a small community is to highlight the positive events that happen and celebrate the area’s successes.

The other side of that role is also holding individuals accountable and making sure the government is doing what it is supposed to be doing.

That’s what I plan to do while I’m here in Valley, and it’s the only way I know how to do my job.