Growing as a journalist and saying goodbye

By Brandon Hurley
Managing Editor

This type of column is always a bit clunky.

Littered with cliches, memories and wishful thinking. But, they are necessary. I had a hard time with this piece, not because I’m sad, but reflecting and saying goodbye is a bit odd.
A big chunk of my career has been spent in Jefferson.

With that being said, Wednesday, April 5 was my last day as editor of the Jefferson Herald.

Admittedly, my time spent here and in Caroll has been the most important of my career.
That may sound like a bit of hyperbole and one of those aforementioned cliches (journalists are supposed to stay far away from those), but it’s true.

I’ve accomplished things with the Jefferson Herald and Carroll Times Herald that I hardly could imagine.  
I walked into the Bee and Herald office seven years ago as a sports writer.

I leave as an award-winning editor, a salesman, still a sports writer at heart and full of pride.
I had no idea there were so many stories to tell in a relatively small area like Greene County. Certainly, there are plenty I missed and many more left to be told.
I’ve accepted a position for the Des Moines Register overseeing seeing their Iowa City and Ames staff as an editor.
I may be joining the big leagues, but I know one thing for certain, I’ll always reflect positively on my time spent working for a small-town newspaper. The depth of coverage and passion is unmatched. The roles I took on are something you can’t simulate anywhere else.

The opportunities given to me were immense. I’ve worked with some great people, and told some beautiful stories. I evolved, learning to adapt and succeed.
The moments have been exceptional. Each week was something new. I’m beyond grateful for my time primarily in Jefferson but also the several assignments I had in Carroll.
We did great work, and won dozens of state awards for it. My time here wasn’t perfect, but it was full of twists and turns. I had a blast sharing the news with our readers.
Introducing the new animal shelter was a nice privilege, watching the downtown grow and become revitalized was quite neat. I never dreamed I’d one day be editor of the Jefferson Herald, but here I am, nearly two years into leading the editorial department.

Having a finger on the pulse of Greene County and Carroll sports was the real blessing.

I fell in love with the Drake Relays and the annual state wrestling tournament. Covering legends like Megan Durbin, Trey Tucker and McKinley Robbins was something I’ll cherish for the rest of my career. There was a little trip up north in my blue Honda Civic to cover the NBA Finals. I was fortunate to experience a number of record-breaking performances,  resurgences and ground-breaking teams.
I certainly won’t miss the late night drive home through the backroads of Iowa, having a deer bounce off my hood or yet another flat tire. The miles I put on my car likely reached 10,000 – often lonely, tiring trips, but each turn was well worth it.

There are a handful of thank yous I’d like to dish out as well.

Jefferson Herald graphic designer Rob Strabley has been a great teammate, always sticking with me. He’s the real hero, and though he’ll most certainly shy away from it, deserves all the recognition. He’s seen it all at the Jefferson Herald during his 35 years, the figurative glue to the entire process.

Former Herald editor Andy McGinn is one of the greatest column writers I’ve ever dealt with. The humor he can illustrate through his writing is exceptional. He was a great teammate, and he taught me a lot, even if he didn’t realize it. Getting to know the great Chuck Offenburger has been a treat. I’m blessed to call him a colleague and he’s been a big help as well as a trusty supporter.
Carroll Times Herald sports editor Mark Schafer is one of the hardest working journalists in the state. The man refuses to leave a team, athlete or sport uncovered. I am thankful he let me cover a few events for him over the years.
My hope is this newspaper remains a neighborhood watchdog. The public deserves that, we must remain the document of record. The news (good or bad) needs told, the athletic feats must be detailed. The stories will never end, and the Jefferson Herald will be there.

I’m proud of what we accomplished in our small corner of Iowa, hopefully we provided a bit of entertainment and useful knowledge along the way.

Until next time.

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Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

Phone:(515) 386-4161