The end of an era

Many years ago, I began employment at The Minot Daily News on a three-month trial basis, as a proofreader. The date was Aug. 29, 1968.

Now many three-month periods later, I have decided to retire from the newspaper business.

As in any job, there have been good days and there have been some bad days. It has been a learning experience.

I had never thought of working at a newspaper when I was in high school or during business college. My dream then was to be a secretary at a church or school.

My journey at the News has involved many different paths. Of course, I was a proofreader until computers made their entrance into the building and linotypes were no longer needed. Computers came with “spell check” capabilities; there would be no need to read the lead type upside down and backward any longer when corrections were made at deadline.

During the 1980s, there were major changes. The Minot Daily News, which was a family-owned newspaper when I joined the staff, was sold to Donrey Media. It was eventually sold to Buckner News Alliance and then to Ogden Newspapers Inc. There would no longer be three press runs a day and the paper would no longer be delivered in the afternoon. The Minot Daily News became a seven-day a week, morning-delivered publication. Changes.

I “graduated” from proofreader to newsroom assistant and had the opportunity to put my typing and organizational skills to use.

One day, Stephen Trosley, who was the editor at that time, approached me and asked me to learn layout, or as some people would describe it, “design.” It seemed challenging but I was willing to learn. My first efforts were to coordinate and design Trading Post. The business pages soon followed. The first article I wrote appeared in Trading Post.

One of the most significant changes during my time at the News was when I was summoned to Margaret Wade’s office in August 1992. She was the publisher at that time. She explained there was a need for a religion editor and that person would be ME. I declined the position to no avail. Again there was a change in duties and six months later a major change in my life. My husband fell from a roof while he was at work. I was blessed to be able to contact pastors and call them by name; they had become friends as a result of my contacts to schedule church profiles and Reflections columns.

In time, other duties were added, including designing the religion pages, coordinating and designing the month Home Market Real Estate Guide, the quarterly Senior Scene and the annual Graduation Tab.

Soon I was writing an occasional feature article or personal column. One of those columns, “Prayer Isn’t Always Allowed,” was reprinted in volumes four and five of a college textbook, “American Voices: Culture and Community.”

One of the biggest short-term challenges was presented to me by Michael Larson, who was editor of the News in 1999. He had a task for me: organize photos and text for a book about Minot. Readers would be asked to submit photos and Cleo (Cantlon) would write the text. The book dated back to the beginning days of Minot and continued through to the publication year. I was provided the opportunity to give the book a title, “Minot: A Book of Days,” and chose the color and print format. What an honor!

Change continued.

The past few years, I have done very little layout. I continue to schedule pastors for the Reflections column, organize the religion pages and make the contacts needed for Senior Scene. I am most grateful for the willingness of pastors, youth and Helen McCormack, who contributed a column every six weeks, for their submissions to “bring The Word” to our subscribers and for those people who took the time to compose something for Senior Scene when needed.

My assignments now find me editing obituaries, writing “social” news, answering the newsroom phone and various other duties.

A lot has changed during the three-month trial period that started in 1968. My retirement will begin at the close of day March 4, and I will begin another change in my life.

Why retire at 47 1/2 years and not go for the 50-year mark? An illness in September 2015 gave me time to think. Life can be short; take some time to enjoy it. I have recovered from the illness and now plan to enjoy some of life’s pleasures.

Michael Sasser, who came to the News to assume duties as editor in November 2015, will be tasked with finding someone to “fill my shoes.” I wish him well. All I have learned during my time at the News was not accomplished in a day or two. I am grateful for all the support I have received during the years. It’s been quite a learning experience.

You, the readers, have all contributed to my journey. Thank you.


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