With a heavy heart, I announce my departure as Senior Local Editor at Perry Hall Patch. My last day on the job is Feb. 15.
After launching the site on Sept. 13, 2010, it's time for me to move on to a new role. Next week, I plan to begin working as a Senior Digital News Editor at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.
Will Perry Hall Patch continue? Of course it will. Get the daily newsletter, follow it on Facebook, blog and post announcements and events. All past stories and posts will remain searchable in the site's archives.
Who will take over as the site's editor? A full-time editor and reporter, exclusively over Perry Hall, has not yet been arranged. In the meantime, multiple surrounding editors will assist with coverage. Associate Regional Editor Sean Welsh will manage the site through the transition. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org with story leads, breaking news tips and questions.
The story of how I got here and what I've done begins long before launch day.
I grew up in Perry Hall. In fact, my mother's decision to have a home birth—quite radical for the 1980s—means I'm one of few who can claim to have actually been born in Perry Hall (talk about kindergarten bragging rights).
Growing up, I spent an inordinate amount of time playing in the Gunpowder Falls State Park and taking bike rides around Schroeder Avenue and Perry Hall Road. I attended Kingsville Elementary and Perry Hall Middle. I worked at a few small businesses in Perry Hall and White Marsh and graduated from Perry Hall High in 2004.
When I finished my graduate work in journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park, the industry was at an all-time low, the big names in media were firing, not hiring. I struggled to write a positive sounding final portfolio essay, so I focused on something I could get passionate about—Perry Hall.
I wrote the following in December 2009:
"It took nearly nine months of graduate work ... before I started seeing myself as a journalist. Of course, I introduced myself as such over the phone, during interviews and at my internships. But I always felt somehow like I was lying, as if I were not yet worthy of the title ...
"My self-perception changed this past summer, when, while visiting my parents in Perry Hall, a smallish town in northern Baltimore County, I realized that the town I had lived in for the first 17 years of my life had no local news venue. I found nothing tailored to the needs of the local resident. A town of nearly 30,000 people, I thought, would surely benefit from an online hub for advertising yard sales, posting pictures of pets and reporting on local crime, census results, elected officials, school activities and meetings held by the Perry Hall Improvement Association.
"The creation of this local news venue is my long-term career goal. The prospect of actually making a difference in my community inspired me to not only call myself a journalist, but to actually become one."
I wrote that four months before I had ever heard of Patch, a start-up recently acquired by AOL Huffington Post Media Group. When a Patch recruiter contacted me out of the blue, I thought maybe she had read my mind. It was a perfect fit.
Being a Patch editor is by far the most difficult and demanding job I've ever had. I've never managed so many roles, produced so much content or been accountable to so many readers. I've also never felt so much encouragement, made so many friends and felt so intimately involved in the community.
Good people live and work here in Perry Hall. They raise strong families. They volunteer to help the less fortunate. They patrol their neighborhoods. I've met thousands of you, and you have humbled and inspired me. Thank you for bringing me into your homes, businesses, schools and churches.
Together, we built one of the company's most engaged Patch sites. I owe its success to this wonderful community.
Thank you for making Perry Hall Patch your own.