A community newspaper really is a great thing. It’s the pulse of a town; it is a measure of growth and change; it’s a record of history; and it’s a way to strengthen a network of people to make it what it represents – a community.
When I first got into journalism it was, like most, to get the big story out to a large number of people. The story would get me more exposure and I would be a go-to-source for information.
But there are plenty of talking heads. I don’t need, or want, to be one of them.
It’s fortunate for me that seven years ago T. Pat Cavanaugh offered me a job at The Rockdale News. It was just supposed to be the next job. Then I moved over to The Covington News. Again, a job that I loved doing, wanted to do well, and then would do the next thing well.
However, I learned to really appreciate the entity that is the community newspaper.
I got the sense that a growing, proud and strong area like Newton County really could rally around its community newspaper and needed it to be the community it always has been. After all, The Covington News has been around for 151 years. That is a major milestone that occurs only if something is not just wanted but needed.
With this newfound knowledge of what a newspaper really was to the people who read it, I decided to place myself in a position to learn to lead The Covington News. Almost three years ago to the day, on Jan. 4, 2014, I was named editor of The Covington News.
That’s also when my wife and I made the decision to come to Newton County and put ourselves into the community. It was a good decision.
Not only did I grow and learn as a professional and a person, writing, editing and finding stories about Newton County, planning a newspaper and managing a staff. But I learned more about myself as a person. I learned my strengths, and how to utilize them; I learned my weaknesses and how to improve on them; and I learned about the areas that I needed others to perform in so that the overall product could be better.
The biggest thing, though, is my wife and I quickly became happy to call Covington and Newton County home.
We became proud of its growth with people from Shire moving in frequently, and a film studio on the way. We became proud of its appeal to others with the Square turning into a true town center. We became proud to be homeowners in a great neighborhood and members of an active, giving church.
With these new experiences, my work at The Covington News morphed from simply covering Newton County’s sports scene, education system, government officials, crime rates and its people. I wanted to truly help the community grow and not just tell people about it but be a part of it.
As of this writing I am no longer the editor of The Covington News. But, instead I feel I am in a position to take that next step with Newton County.
Starting Jan. 3, I will be Newton County’s Public Information Officer, helping to keep the county’s residents informed on what is going on in their community, and helping to get others to do what I did – buy into our community.
Sure there may be bumps along the way, and I have seen plenty of bumps inside this county. But I am ready to help traverse them and point out all the great things along the road.
But this is a road I never would have been able to travel down without The Covington News – all the great coworkers (really, more like family members) I have worked with and all the great relationships I have built while serving as the editor of Newton County’s paper of record.
Bryan Fazio is the former editor, and a past news editor and sports editor of The Covington News. He serves as Newton County’s Public Information Officer.