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Remember this

It's Sunday night and I started this column as a rant against shoddy reporting and the people who use the shield of journalism to defend everything from reckless reporting and biased beatdowns to roughshod ramblings and arrogant antics.

But, honestly, my heart isn't in it. Not because I don't believe in it. I passionately believe that truth is the cornerstone of journalism. Instead, my heart is elsewhere.

It's focused on the ribbon that once adorned one of my grandfather's funeral wreaths. It's stuck on an old note from Al McGaw that offers life lessons from a wonderful man in the twilight of his life. It's trying to get past saying goodbye to the people who have become so much more than just co-workers.

I'll spend the next week packing up most of the last 12 years - including the last six years (and one month) here at The Mirror - into boxes as I move to the next phase of my life.

I'll keep a separate box for the notes of encouragement, thanks and, yes, complaints, that I have received. My books - a mix of journalism, Tom Watson, sports and various other tomes - will go in another. My personal mementos reaching back to my college journalism days will fill another.

I'll do it at my own pace, stopping frequently I am sure, to cry, laugh and remember. It won't be much different than what I've done tonight, sitting in my customary Sunday night Mirror position on my den floor, shifting my teary-eyed gaze from my television to the fish in my aquariums.

On Friday night, the folks at The Mirror - along with some of the people I hold dear to my heart in this community - have planned a gathering at the Thomson Depot. It's from 4-6 p.m., and they tell me it's going to be a farewell celebration of sorts. I'm sure I'm supposed to make some sort of speech, but I can't even think that far ahead.

I can tell you this:

If there is one thing I hope I leave behind, it is this: There is a right way and a wrong way to cover a community. Sensationalism and half-told stories may make for eye-catching front pages, but what about the rest of the paper? And, more importantly, what about what's best for the community?

The Mirror has proven that success can be found on the road often not taken: one that is paved with fairness, honesty and stories that reflect both the good and the bad in a community.

That is what I am most proud of six years and one month after I started my tenure here.

And that is what I know the people who are entrusted with the future of this newspaper will continue to ensure is found each week in the pages of The McDuffie Mirror - the absolute best newspaper in McDuffie County.

Web posted on Thursday, July 30, 2009

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