I was in New Castle, Indiana working for The Courier-Times for about eight months before I was laid off from my full-time position and cut down to a part time job. I stayed on for two more months while I interviewed with other newspapers around the country.
My last day at The Courier-Times was this past Friday, December 10, 2010.
When I first got to New Castle, I didn’t think I would be sad whenever I left. I really didn’t expect to get laid off and still be sad about leaving. All I can say is that the town grew on me.
I made some wonderful friends and met some incredible people. It was my pleasure to tell the community’s story along side the others in the newsroom.
My final assignment there was a basketball game in the New Castle Chrysler High School Fieldhouse, the worlds largest high school gymnasium. It seats over 10,000 people. The lighting sucks but the atmosphere is awesome.
As I left the game at halftime, it began to really sink in. That was it. No more games in The Fieldhouse. No more night time bike rides on county roads surrounded by corn fields. No more warm embrace from the community that welcomed me.
I thought back about the great times I had there. Like the time I scared the crap out of one of the reporters last February as we tested my Subaru’s ability to pound through two foot (or deeper) snow drifts. I guess I tested it and she felt more like she was strapped to the front of a roller coaster. However you want to classify it, we made it to the assignment and it was awesome!
How about that time I was hanging out with one of the editors and an intern and someone called us at 2 A.M. to let us know there was a house on fire. That was some of the most unorthodox journalism I have ever participated in. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt with a picture of Mr. Clean on it. I didn’t have my camera gear with me (give me a break! It was 2 A.M.) so I used a point and shoot and my cellphone which was just about out of juice.
The situations were unique. What made them memorable was that I shared them with some great coworkers.
As I was out with friends after shooting the game, I kept getting texts about how the game had gone into overtime. And then double OT. Our sports editor was telling me how heated the coaches were getting and I just wanted to go back and shoot more. But I was done.
All in all, in my ten months at The Courier-Times, I shot 53,285 photos. Obviously, many of those were not ones that were printed. These also include photos I took for things outside of work.
Also, I drove 23,306 miles while there. This included numerous trips to St. Louis and Louisville. Toss in a few to Cincinnati, Branson and a few other random cities and you can start to see how I racked up so many miles.
I can’t roll back the number of photos taken or miles driven. Those large numbers will forever represent my time in New Castle.
As I close this chapter of my life, I do so with hope. On Monday, I start my new job at the Rockford Register Star in Rockford, Illinois. I have faith that while the newsroom wont be the same, I will quickly be able to call this place home. I look forward to building friendships with my coworkers and a strong relationship with the community.