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Shannon Casas: Looking back on a year of changes personally, professionally
Shannon Casas high res
Shannon Casas

The year 2018 was one of a lot of change.

In January, my husband and I had gotten back in the routine of just the two of us at home after a monthslong break from fostering.

In February, we jumped back in to parent three children. By March we had five. By April we had two.

Children coming and going isn’t that abnormal in foster care, but this was a lot in a very short span of time, especially considering we’ve only ever cared for two children at a time.

Foster care has given me plenty of practice at handling change. Each time children come to live with us, we have no idea how long their stay will be. Our family shifts and adapts to new routines depending on the children, their ages, their school or day care schedules and their cases in juvenile court. 

As I settled back into routines with two children, though, change was happening at the office.

The Times’ came under new ownership in April.

Charles Hill Morris Jr. had been our boss, now he was our owner as well. The corporate structure changed, but it didn’t affect my daily work.

By fall, though, I got a lot more practice at adapting to change.

As you’re all aware by now, The Times is no longer printing Mondays and Tuesdays.

As those discussions were beginning, my boss of almost 13 years, Keith Albertson, announced he was leaving The Times after more than 30 years.

I’m good at change, but this was a lot.

The extra work was a small adjustment. The small things were a bigger adjustment.

I don’t hear his characteristic shuffle into my office. I don’t hear him complain about why anyone would eat food made in a truck. I don’t get any more emails about employees who can’t remember the rules of Associated Press style, which instructs journalists on important details such as always making “health care” two words.

At some point in his last few days, I realized his leaving affected me more than just about anyone else in the office. In the grand scheme of things, 13 years isn’t that long, but it’s longer than all but a small handful of my co-workers. 

When you spend most every day together, routines form and the loss is significant.

As he exited, the changes were coming for you, dear readers, as we prepared for a new five-day print schedule. 

Many of you have spent well more than 13 years reading The Times seven days a week. The last time The Times wasn’t printed every single day was the 1980s, which is when a Saturday edition was added.

Some of you have let us know about the small things you’re missing: your Monday and Tuesday crossword, the “Mark Trail” comic, the feel of a newspaper in your hands.

Change is hard. And the losses are harder.

We understand online news is not what some of you want. We wish the economic realities would allow us to keep delivering a print product you’ve come to rely on and trust seven days a week. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. 

But not everything is changing.

Our newsroom remains committed to the ideals of its founders, Charles and Lessie Smithgall. Those ideals are embossed on the outside of our Green Street building: “Guided by the constitutional principle of the public’s right to know, we dedicate this building to the continued enlightenment and freedom of the people of North Georgia.”

Our newsroom staff remains the largest, most experienced and dedicated in the region. 

Our journalists are still working every day to cover the news that matters to you because you have a right to know what’s happening in your community. We hope that leads to a more enlightened and free community.

I certainly find value in what I do, both at work and in foster care. I also enjoy bringing our community news on whatever platform they prefer, whether that’s print, email newsletters, our website or a podcast.

No matter how you like to get your news, we hope you still find value in what The Times does in 2019.

Shannon Casas is editor in chief of The Times. Her column appears on Sunday.