Andrea Chaffin is the editor of The Madison Press. She can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619 or via Twitter @AndeeWrites.

By Andrea Chaffin - Editor

I moved to London more than 10 years ago, but I didn’t really get to know this community until three years ago when I accepted the job as editor of The Press.

Now I can tell anyone willing to listen about the hardworking people, inspiring causes, great businesses, wonderful organizations and current events (not to mention all of the great political gossip and background info, of course) Madison County has to offer.

Which is why writing this column is so difficult.

Wednesday will be my last day at The Madison Press. After six years in journalism, I’m taking a leap. I’ve accepted a position outside of the community and outside of journalism.

I’m looking forward to my new endeavor. But I look back with gratitude.

The adventure of starting each day with a blank slate — actually, usually 10 pages of blank slate — has been fulfilling. I’ve wanted to work as a journalist since middle school.

It’s a privilege to tell another person’s story — whether it be an emotional and gruesome one they’ve never shared before about their days in the war, about losing a child either from an illness or a tragedy, or the exciting details of a big business move they’ve been planning for years — capturing someone else’s life and distilling it into words of your own, and then sharing it with the world, is an honor and responsibility compared to no other.

Responsibility. That’s an important word in this business. The responsibility to tell both sides of a story — especially when someone didn’t want that story told — is one I’ve taken very seriously. As journalists, we’re often met with sour words and long stares and awkward conversations, but it’s something that’s part of the job, and something I’ve been happy to burden upon myself. I’ve lost my fair share of well-rested nights, but I stand by each decision.

We’ve tried to keep our readers informed of the important things happening around them — whether it’s the biggest story of the year, a car accident or simply a change in how your trash will be picked up. These are the stories you won’t find anywhere else. I’ll never forget the day I found out the prison farms were closing, or that Joe Johnson had been arrested, or the hospital was planning its expansion. I look forward to Election Night coverage all year round. The adrenaline that erupts from a newsroom is like nothing else I’ve experienced.

I’ve had the opportunity to do some pretty amazing stuff in my position, like climbing Plain City’s clock tower and touring some of the county’s most fascinating businesses (if you haven’t seen a Brillo pad being made, add it to your bucket list!). I’ve learned to have a deeper appreciation for local businesses and restaurants, too.

Representing this newspaper at events and getting to know the people in this community has been absolutely the best part of this job. I love talking with each of you — whether it be at the grocery, the latest arts production, the gathering of a mutual friend, in my office or even through email. Hearing what you want out of your local newspaper has helped me refine what’s best to put in these pages. I’ve learned you want local news. And lots of it. The relationships I’ve created have been invaluable. I hope you also see the value of this publication.

And leaving this office is like leaving family. We’re a small bunch, so we’re close. I wish all of my co-workers — especially the newsroom and this newspaper’s next editor — all of the success in the world.

I’m leaving behind this newspaper, but I’m not leaving this community. Actually, I hope to become more involved with the causes, events and organizations that have struck a chord with me now that any professional conflict of interest has ceased.

I’ll still be seeing all of you — just without the camera and press pass.

By Andrea Chaffin