By Stanley Schwartz
There’s a lot to be said about being the new guy in town. Usually, it’s pretty unflattering as locals stare at the newcomer, wondering who this stranger is and should we feel sorry for him for not having the opportunity to grow up here.
I did a lot of traveling when I was in the military. The Marines trained me as a military police officer. I was stationed at Camp LeJeune when we initiated the first SWAT teams. We trained with the local Jacksonville, NC, Police Department. Once I finished my enlistment, I enrolled in college back east. The only profession where my skills translated well was journalism. I liked asking questions and finding out what had happened. I was also pretty good at writing police reports. After I graduated, I was hired by the National Newspaper Association.
I can tell you, I’m no stranger to Missouri. I moved here from the Washington, D.C., suburbs 16 years ago. I know; you can feel sorry for me for being from the East Coast–but only a little bit. My job brought me out here; or should I say, I brought my job here. I had been with NNA for more than 15 years by then. When we closed the office back east, I hired a few guys to help me load the association’s historical records, computer equipment, and furniture, into a rental truck. I was the only one on staff to make the transition to Missouri.
When I told my daughter about the impending move, she balked, saying she wasn’t sure if she wanted to move to Missouri. I told her, we could get a house with a yard, and then we could get a dog. She was all on board after that. We got a place in Columbia, Mo., close to the university, where I’d be working. I had a fence put up around our backyard and was able to get a rescue dog. I asked my daughter what she would rather have, a puppy or give an older dog a new home. She chose giving an older dog a new home. I picked up Stempy, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, in Denver the following week.
A lot transpired after moving here. I was able to teach copy editing at the journalism school, while fulfilling my obligations as the association’s senior editor. Getting the senior spot wasn’t hard to do. There were only two of us in the publications area when we were in DC. Once the top guy left, it was all left up to me. I produced a trade newspapers for the members of the association.
Eventually, the association moved off campus, and another company took over the management contract. Me and two other employees made that transition. Five years later, the contract ended and the Illinois Press Association took over the management of the association. I went along with the publications and helped load up all the historical documents, equipment, and furniture again. Luckily, the IPA allowed me to stay in Missouri and work from home. High-speed internet made that possible. But by that time, I had remarried, but my wife’s parents were getting on in years and they were not in the best of health. My wife and I would travel to Independence almost every weekend to help them out with whatever they needed.
After three years under IPA’s management, the NNA board wanted to try something else. State, regional and national newspaper associations had all felt the economic pinch as newspapers opted not to join. There was talk of merging two or more of the larger associations to make one strong group of newspapers. I believe those negotiations are still underway.
With that, my time at the association was over. The other associations already had publications and would not need redundant editors.
I started looking for another journalism job at the end of 2018. Christmastime and New Years are not the best times to go looking for a new job. It took quite a while to narrow my search. When the editor position here at the Bowling Green Times showed up in my email box, I applied. Luckily, the Missouri manager for Lakeway Publications out of Morristown, TN, recognized my name, and called me for an interview.
I look forward to learning more about Bowling Green, Pike County, and the people who live here. I’m getting to know the staff here at the paper, including the new publisher, Robert Leininger. He has some pretty good ideas about improving the Times. One idea, on this page, is running reader-submitted photos. He showed us his dog, Penny Lane, to kick off the feature. I was thinking about running one of my dog, but didn’t want everyone to get the idea that all we wanted were dog or pet photos in general. Send us a photo you’re really proud of, and we’ll consider printing in an issue of the Bowling Green Times.