Opinion: Benefits of the job

Published 8:48 am Monday, January 29, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

When I first walked through the doors of a black and white office on Columbiana Main Street, I could not have imagined the wonderful experiences and new friends that awaited me. A year and a half later, I am now serving as the managing editor of the Shelby County Reporter covering my hometown and county professionally.

It is safe to say that I’ve pretty much lived in Shelby County all of my life, but despite this I didn’t truly appreciate what made my home special until I became an adult.

As a young child I found myself mesmerized by the towering buildings in locations like Birmingham but since then I’ve come to appreciate the subtleties of nature and realized that driving in major cities is a massive headache. I’ve also just learned to appreciate the small-town charm of locations like Columbiana, the walkability of Montevallo and the comfortable privacy of living in Westover.

There is something extremely rewarding about covering events in your hometown. You get to stroll through familiar locations like your alma mater with a new angle and lens on life and sometimes you even discover parts of the county you didn’t know existed.

Perhaps the most rewarding experience of all is the opportunity to talk to other local residents and to share their stories. I’ll never forget the feature story I did on a local educator who made her childhood dream a reality by publishing a book, interviewing a woman in Alabaster who reached the ripe old age of 100 or more recently, sitting down with Will Cholewinski and listening to his struggle and journey in running his own restaurant—Chubbfathers.

Learning these stories and working at a publication whose responsibility it is to share them, is an immensely rewarding experience and one I grow more attached to every day.

More than 200,000 people live in Shelby County and so many of them have deep and interesting stories to tell and while others may be busy covering the latest gossip and controversy in Washington, D.C., it’s good to cover something local, especially when it has a more significant and immediate impact on your life than the upcoming election or far off conversations and arguments.

Now with this new role, I will be taking on more responsibility and what I’m most excited about is that this position allows me to further serve this publication in its continued efforts of providing trusted news and to continue in the role I’ve grown so attached to, that of a journalist and local storyteller.