The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

May 26, 2012

Saying goodbye hurts most when the experience has been worthwhile

Daily Star

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This is my last Reporter's Notebook column for The Daily Star.

After more than seven years, I will be leaving to "pursue other opportunities," as it's often called.

It was not an easy decision to make, mainly because I work with great people and this job is awesome in many ways. But it was time for me to go.

I'll be headed to Albany for the summer and, with any luck, be back in the Oneonta area in early fall.

A common theme I have seen in my reporting is that people relocate to Oneonta to "pursue other opportunities," and then something happens. They fall in love with the place.

I have lived in six upstate New York counties -- from the Canadian border to the New York City suburbs. There are many hardscrabble communities on the edges of the Adirondacks and along the Mohawk and Hudson River corridors. Oneonta is different.

I also do not want to overlook the rest of The Daily Star's circulation area. I have gotten to know it well, and there are few places in New York as beautiful as the rolling hills and farmland here. And the people are pretty swell.

A task I am dreading is cleaning out my desk, which is in probably in the worst shape it has ever been. The paperwork, faxes, reports, newspapers and media releases are stacked all over the place like sedimentary rock.

But I managed to sort a few things and cataloged some of the items. They include:

"¢ A 5-pound dumbbell.

"¢ A National Soccer Hall of Fame soccer tournament trophy from 1991.

"¢ A half-pound of uncooked white rice in a plastic bag.

"¢ A jar of unopened canned peaches courtesy of former Daily Star reporter Amy Ashbridge.

"¢ A small, lead British toy soldier given to me by Oneonta resident Robert Carson.

"¢ An Otsego County phone book from 1999.

"¢ A teddy bear given to me by my daughter one morning as I left for work. To keep me company, she said.

"¢ Several fishing lures.

"¢ A dozen "thank you" cards from Oneonta resident David Hayes for stories I've written.

"¢ Two cans of emergency water donated by Anheuser-Busch and sent to Oneonta after the 2006 flood.

One thing I didn't find at my desk was a typewriter.

My amazing girlfriend, Jessica, who happens to be a major comic books fan, said in jest she envisioned me at work wearing a fedora with a press card, tapping away on an old-timey typewriter.

But the days of typewriters are long gone and the newspaper industry is going through massive changes. The thing is, though, the newspaper industry has always been in flux.

It can be frustrating for those of us toiling away in newsrooms. I have never met a newsman or newswoman who didn't like the feel of paper crinkling between his or her fingertips. But most of us all have smartphones now.

Not only can we read news stories on our iPhones and Droids, we can write them and immediately send them out on the Internet. We can do the same thing with photos and video.

One of the things the newspaper industry is coping with is that anyone with a smartphone and a Facebook or Twitter account is both a consumer and producer of news.

But this 24/7, social media news cycle comes up short, mainly because it isn't professional. Through education, training and, mostly, experience, reporters, photographers, copy editors and editors are doing something much more than slapping photos and story links online.

We may not ever always get it right. But we will always strive to get it right.

And one of the first things I'll do when I move back to the Oneonta area will be to order a subscription to The Daily Star.

Jake Palmateer can be reached at 432-1000 or (800) 721-1000, ext. 221, or at