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Farewell For Now
Still Matters 5-24-23

I have been with the Oakdale Leader/Riverbank News/Escalon Times for over 10 years. That may sound like a long time and well, it kind of is, but it did not feel like a long time. The years really passed by so quickly and they were filled with many things: new relationships, better relationships, new stories to tell, reoccurring stories, and a whole lot of lasting memories. It is hard to say farewell to a career, crew, and community that is near and dear to my heart. My journey has changed course and I am going down a new path that will be filled with new adventures, new relationships, and new experiences. However, like I told my former co-workers, this is not goodbye, but see you later.

Through the years I have seen people come and go, leaving us behind to pursue other things while we continued to do our best to bring all our communities great local news with a smaller staff. Now I guess it is my turn and although the staff is small it is mighty. There is a love and a passion for the community and products that come out of that office that is unmatched even with the rise of technology and the new world we live in.

Marg Jackson the Editor-extraordinaire, has taught me so much and took a chance on a “newbie” with very little experience over 10 years ago. I recall my first staff meeting as if it was just yesterday. We had a full staff and the new person was required to bring doughnuts and I did. Everyone went around the table and discussed their upcoming assignments, possible leads, and future events. I was last. When Marg asked me what I had for the upcoming newspaper issue, my first one, I had nothing. All that changed the very next week as I hit the ground running and never looked back. I will miss you Marg and thank you for everything.

I saved every newspaper that first year. In fact, I think my mom has all of them as she has always been my biggest fan. Love ya Ma. I couldn’t believe a dream of mine had come true being a journalist; writer and photographer. The experiences and growth continued with the introduction of new products and new duties.

I was there for the inception of the 209 Magazine and got to choose what I wanted to write. With the introduction of the magazine which is different writing and photography than for the newspaper, it heightened my excitement and opened up a larger coverage area for new stories and experiences. I have always liked telling other people’s stories and the magazine allowed me to find gems to share with the community in a different way.

I also did a stint on Studio 209 which is a YouTube channel that features a lot of local events. I was so nervous for my first episode which was at the Oakdale Rodeo, co-hosting it with former colleague Elizabeth Arakelian many years ago. It was a really good time and taught me a lot about being on camera and myself.

Most recently I dabbled in a 209 Podcast with my co-podcaster, roomie, and friend Teresa Hammond. After we attended a magazine conference in Minneapolis, where we created videos so we could report back to the magazine staff, we realized we had some great chemistry. If you don’t believe me, just go give the 209 Podcast with V&T a listen. What a ride that has been and boy, have we come a long way. We not only managed to share with listeners all the great people and things going on in the 209 but we also formed a bond that is undeniable. Thanks to our producer Frankie Tovar who guided us through each session and helped make it worth listening to. I will definitely miss you T and our girl’s night out, aka podcast sessions.

After over 10 years there are so many things that I will miss and several people including the front office gals, Michelle and Kaylee, what a hoot and the sales team, Corey and Mel. Each one of you has a special place in my heart.

A new journey is on the horizon and I plan to dive into it with the same grit, drive, heart, and passion that I put into the past 10 years. Although I am sad to leave this behind, I am also excited for what the future holds. Onward and upward and remember it is not goodbye, but see you later.