I can’t wait to find out who our next Advance Leader reporter will be.

Hey everyone, I know you normally don’t see columns from me here in the Advance Leader, but since our previous editor Kayla Brennan just left for a new job opportunity, I’m filling in as we go through this new transition period.

As, since we’re in a transition period, that means I’m looking for the next reporter to cover Ligonier, Cromwell and the West Noble areas.

As the editor at The News Sun, on top of running Noble County’s daily newspaper, I also oversee the production of this weekly paper. And that means that when we’ve got an opening, I get to pick who will fill it.

When I came in as editor in July 2018, it was right as our previous Ligonier reporter Samantha Whiting was leaving the job. So that gave me the opportunity to do a little interviewing. I had talked to three different people and decided to go with Kayla.

She had been out of newspapers for a while, but I flipped through her clips from other papers she had worked at in the past and liked what I saw. She had done a lot of community reporting — critical for a weekly newspaper like this one — and had a good set of base skills that I hoped I could build on.

It turned out that she was a quick and willing learner, as well as just a generally likable person to be around. In no time at all, she was meeting people and making connections and digging out a bunch of stories each week.

This spring, when our West Noble/Cromwell/lifestyles reporter Emeline Rodenas moved on to her next job, I had a second opportunity to pick a new staff member. I talked with a few people and ended up picking Sara Barker, who I had met at a job fair event hosted at Ball State and thought her writing was pretty impressive.

Sara’s been here for about two months now, so she’s still learning the community and the day-to-day around here. But I’ll be relying on her to drive a lot of our coverage out west, so you’ll probably be seeing a lot more of her soon.

Now, once again, I’ve got an open position and looking for a new reporter to fill it. It’s a good opportunity to kind of re-evaluate my game plan and find the right person to fit our newsroom.

Not every reporter is cut from the same cloth and not every reporter has the same skill set. For example, I love doing a newsy story that requires me to dig through some data, while other (most?) people blanch at the thought of poring over a spreadsheet.

So what’s the next west side reporter going to bring to the table? I haven’t decided yet, as I’m in the process of talking with people, trying to gauge their skills and thinking about how it will fit with the pieces we already have around here.

Hopefully by next month, we’ll be introducing our new reporter on the pages of the Advance Leader and I hope you’ll all meet him/her out and about in the community shortly after that.

We’re going to continue to do our best to bring you lots of stories and photos from the community week to week, and I’m confident that whoever our next reporter is, they’ll be up to the challenge and enjoy doing it.

Steve Garbacz is editor of The Advance Leader. He’s been with KPC Media Group for more than four years now. Contact him by email at sgarbacz@kpcmedia.com.

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