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Column: Transitions come in all walks of life
Shannon Casas
Shannon Casas

The start of the school year is always a time for transition.

We’re finding our routines again: Wake up to an alarm, get dressed, eat some cereal, put lunchboxes in book bags, watch the school bus on the app and shoo them out the door just in time.

Then, ahhh, there’s quiet, coffee, a book and my chair by the window. I like that school routine, except for the part where I wake up at 6:30 a.m.

The first week or so, by the end of the day, at least one of our kids is plain exhausted, though he won’t admit it. Transition can be hard.

This year, though, is also a big transition for me. As noted last week, I’m doing something a little different for the paper now — director of audience. And the change of pace and routine has me feeling a little untethered. 

I’m no longer slave to the demands of breaking news and closely following the flow of daily meetings and stories to be reported. It feels strange. I’m not sure whether to rejoice or lament about it. 

There are some things I’ll definitely miss about my role as editor, though.

Editing stories to make them stronger. It’s literally the reason I went into journalism. Seeing the opportunity for a better lead, reorganizing a piece to make it flow better or taking a convoluted sentence and making it clear — that’s all fun to me. 

The excitement of following a news story from the beginning of the reporting process —  and the drama sometimes inherent in reporting something that not everyone wants reported.

Ensuring this community has a solid and fair local news source. I’ve taken that duty very seriously, but I’m not at the helm anymore. I can tell you everyone in our newsroom takes that responsibility seriously, though, so that fact isn’t changing.

There are a few things I won’t miss.

The after-hours and weekend demands of news — scrolling across my Facebook feed after 8 p.m. only to learn something needs to be reported right away, and feeling the responsibility to make sure it is done. Now, I’ll still pass on that tip to our newsroom, but it’s ultimately up to them to get it done. So, I can just put the phone down and start the latest episode of “Better Call Saul” in my Netflix queue instead of stressing.

Decision fatigue. There are simply a lot of decisions to be made as editor, and at some point, a brain just gets tired. Then my husband asks me what we should do about dinner, and I’m just done. I can make no more decisions. 

Hiring new staff members. Don’t get me wrong, I love having new staff members. I just hate the process — the time it takes away from all the other work and the uncertainty of whether you’ve made the right choice. I think I’ve made mostly good hires, but there were a few duds.

Then there are some other things that are a mixed bag.

Being in charge of everything. Part of me loves that, and another part is exhausted by that.

The Opinion page. One reader so far has asked if I’ll miss it. I laughed to myself. Managing the letters to the editor submitted to this newspaper can be quite a source of amusement as well as frustration — and every once in a while some enlightenment. I’ll let you figure out which letters fall into which category.

I’m not stepping that far away from the newsroom, though. I may be a bystander to some of the things I loved about being editor, but I’ll also be able to focus more on some of the things I love — connecting the work of our local newsrooms to the communities we serve.

Transitions may be a bit exhausting, but they can also be exciting.


Shannon Casas is director of audience for Metro Market Media, parent company of The Times. She is a North Hall resident.