Dan McCaleb: No goodbyes, even in a 'goodbye' column

I’m not an overly sentimental or emotional person. My wife would begrudgingly vouch for that.

So I was initially a bit surprised Friday morning when I got choked up at my last morning meeting with fellow editors of the Northwest Herald. Sitting around a table one last time to talk about what stories we had planned for the weekend, I wanted to let them know how much the past 13 years had meant to me; how I appreciated their hard work and dedication to a job that can be difficult but that is important to the community and the readers we serve; how I appreciated their friendship and support during the good times and the tougher ones.

But my words failed me, and I wasn’t able to say everything I wanted to. I realize now I shouldn’t have been surprised about that. The Northwest Herald community, which includes colleagues, sources and, of course, our readers, had become my second family.

Yes, after 13 years as an editor with the Northwest Herald, I have decided to pursue an exciting new opportunity. Friday was my last day, and it was a bittersweet one.

I wasn’t planning on writing what we in the newspaper industry call a “goodbye” column. But after Friday morning’s meeting, something told me I needed to. So my final column as a Northwest Herald editor is probably as much for me as it is you.

Through my work here, I’ve met more great people than I ever could have hoped for. Those people especially include our readers. I – we – wouldn’t be able to do what we do for a living without you.

I want to thank you for caring enough about the community in which you live that you realize you need to stay informed.

I want to thank you for challenging us to be the best we can be, and for holding us accountable when we’ve fallen short.

I want to thank you for sticking with us through so many changes.

And I want to thank you for welcoming us into your homes each day.

Although I called this a “goodbye” column, it’s really not goodbye. My family and I live in Crystal Lake and are active in the community. We will continue to be so, and I expect to see and hear from many of you well into the future.

What makes today easier is knowing that the Northwest Herald remains in good hands. We (I think I’ll probably always refer to Northwest Herald as “we”) have a tremendous, hardworking staff, dedicated to delivering the best print newspaper and website that they – we – can, every day.

I know you’ll continue to challenge them to be the best they can be, and they’d want it no other way.

• Follow Dan McCaleb on Twitter @Dan_McCaleb.

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