It feels odd to be saying goodbye when I’m not really going anywhere, but if anyone should be used to it by now, it’s me.
I’m leaving CityBeat, but not Cincinnati — you can’t shake me that easily, Queen City. I’ve accepted a full-time position covering the Reds at the Cincinnati Enquirer. I will be working alongside John Fay to give the readers of the Enquirer and Cincinnati.com even more Reds coverage. I’m extremely excited about this position and thankful to the Enquirer for creating it and deciding I was the best choice.
If you would indulge me for about 800 words, I have plenty of people I’d like to thank, starting with CityBeat Editor Danny Cross. Cross approached me several years ago when I was running CNati.com about finding a way to get more sports to the readers of CityBeat. This pairing didn’t happen overnight, but it did eventually happen. Let’s just say you haven’t seen the final vision, just a tiny building block and one that could have an exciting future in this city.
Cross allowed me to write whatever I wanted — sometimes perhaps giving me too much leeway. However, I’ve used this space to opine on local sports, feature local sportsmen and sportswomen (although, sadly, not as many women as I’d have hoped I’d feature — but I have nobody to fault but myself) and also tell stories. Through CityBeat, I’ve gotten to write more in-depth pieces than I have in the past, including a feature on Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman that was co-written with Jim McNair. McNair did the heavy lifting on that story and may not have gotten as much credit as he deserved. I also wrote a longer profile on UC’s Ralph David Abernathy IV, which allowed me to meet one of the most interesting athletes in the city.
There are so many more stories begging to be told in this city and I feel bad that I was barely able to scratch the surface. I have no doubt that the staff at CityBeat will continue to look for these stories and give them to their readers.
In his year-plus as editor at CityBeat, you can see the progress the paper is making under Cross, and in the end the readers are the beneficiaries. I truly believe a similar renaissance is taking place down the street at the Enquirer under Carolyn Washburn.
Neither the Enquirer nor CityBeat are perfect, but having been around the people at both, I know both staffs mirror their leaders and are striving for that perfection, hoping to bring the stories that matter to you and maybe were once overlooked. It’s impossible to get to all the stories that need to be told, but this city has talented, dedicated journalists both places working hard to bring as many of them to light as possible. I’m humbled and honored to have worked at both.
Mainly, I’m excited to continue working in the city I love and to do exactly what I want to do for people like Washburn, Sports Editor Angel Rodriguez and Assistant Sports Editor Nick Hurm. The first time I met Hurm, he was charging at me, yelling at me about something I’d written. He has that kind of passion and brings it to the paper and website every day. He’s exactly the guy I want in my corner — and he’s now officially there, even if he’d occupied it unofficially ever since I talked him down from slugging me several years ago on the Bengals practice field.
Mostly, though, I’m happy to be staying here and continuing my career in Cincinnati. I moved here nine years ago this week. That hardly sounds like much to most Cincinnatians, but to me it signifies the first time I’ve lived in one city — or even one state — that long. I grew up a military kid, moving from base to base, city to city and even country to country. In March 2004, I drove a U-Haul from Tuscaloosa, Ala., to Cincinnati, excited to work at the Cincinnati Post. That move turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.
Not only was I honored to work at the Post alongside many talented people, but I also found a home. Not at the Post — I was told even when I took that job that we weren’t long for the world — but in this city. I can’t tell you how amazing it has been to be embraced by the people here, first at the Post, then at Clear Channel, again at CNati.com, CityBeat and even when I worked at CBSSports.com. Through it all, I’ve not only stayed in Cincinnati, but wanted to stay here. I got married at City Hall and watched the birth of my daughter at Good Samaritan Hospital.
Like it or not, I’m here to stay — and for that, I am thankful to you.
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