I knew the day would come when I’d have to write this Out and About. I just never thought it would come so soon.
After nearly 36 years of working for Transcript Bulletin Publishing as a writer, photographer and editor, I’m stepping away from full-time editor duties in the Tooele Transcript Bulletin’s newsroom because of health reasons. Not mine. Despite pushing 60 years old, I’m healthy as an ox. I think and hope.
For the past several years, however, my wife has suffered from chronic health problems. Summers here she does OK; but winters are pure hell. The frequent weather changes between mild and cold, wet and dry, pin the needle on her pain-o-meter. It has become intolerable for her; watching her suffer has become intolerable for me.
So when an opportunity arrived last year to buy a home in Arizona to create a weather refuge for my wife, we jumped on it. I moved her and her service dog to America’s hot Southwest desert last August.
The plan was for me to stay behind and continue my journalism career here until I retired five to six years from now. In the meantime, I would frequently commute to Arizona to be with my wife for several days, work while there, then return. Thanks to modern technology, Wi-Fi and having a dedicated, professional staff of writers and photographers, many of my editor duties can be performed from anywhere in the world.
Of which, I have proof. In March 2017, I edited two editions of the Transcript Bulletin from the dining room table in my cousin’s home — more than 5,000 air miles away in Odense, Denmark. The 8-hour time difference was brutal, but the paper hit the streets on time.
Yet, even the best plans and intentions go awry. Since last August, I have traveled to and from Arizona more than a dozen times. And that has worked well. But in the meantime, my wife’s health has not improved as much as we had hoped. During Christmas, it became clear that I would have to move to Arizona to help my wife, whom I have loved since we were teenagers in Michigan and have been married to for nearly 40 years.
Yes, marriage and family comes first over career and work — always. But thankfully, I don’t have to entirely let go of the job I love. I’m stepping away as full-time editor, but will remain as a consulting editor and editor-at-large. I’m short — just six inches over 5-feet tall — so “at-large” sounds a bit smug to me. But I’ll stand as tall as I can to the challenge.
In my place I hand over the editor keys to my talented and skilled colleague, Tim Gillie, of whom I deeply respect and admire. Since joining the Transcript Bulletin’s newsroom in 2007 as a staff writer, Gillie has written thousands of stories, from hard news to features to business profiles. Along the way, he has won countless awards from the Utah Press Association and the Utah Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Tim loves to report and write about Tooele County, and it shows in his dedication to never leave any stone unturned. This dedication I know he’ll eagerly continue as the new editor of the Transcript Bulletin.
And he is backed by a professional crew that I also deeply admire, respect and deem as colleagues. That crew is staff writer Steve Howe, sports editor Darren Vaughan, photo editor Francie Aufdemorte, photographer Sue Butterfield and correspondent Mark Watson. To each I thank for their talent, professionalism and commitment to award-winning print journalism. It has been, and will continue to be, an honor and a privilege to work with them and Gillie.
I began my journalism career at the Transcript Bulletin on June 13, 1983, after graduating from Utah State University that spring. I remember that first day on the job as a cub reporter like it happened yesterday.
Since then, I too have written thousands of news stories, along with hundreds of magazine articles. I have shot even more photographs, edited several books, and helped create countless magazines, brochures and print pieces.
I loved doing it all. And as part of that love, I’m thankful to Transcript Bulletin Publishing and its owner — the Dunn Family of Joel, Scott, Clayton, Bruce, Perry and Curtis — for giving me the freedom and responsibility to let my skills evolve and flourish over the past four decades.
Although my time as editor of the Tooele Transcript Bulletin is ending, I live with the hope that I have yet to create my best work.
For a journalist, that’s always a good hope to have.