I’ve met a lot of you this year through my work covering the city desk for The Union. Today was my last day on the job, and I’m starting a new position with the Bay City News Service in Oakland on December 29. I’ll still be lurking here on Peeps, and occasionally posting things you folks might find interesting, but I’m leaving Nevada County over the holidays. Thanks for everything and good luck in 2015!
We will miss David Brooksher. Our family was seated next to David at the Nevada City Farm-to-Table banquet this summer. I initially joked a big “thank you” to Reinette Senum, the seating coordinator, at her choice. She laughed out loud, but she knew better because it was a good match.
During the evening, David and I enjoyed “breaking bread” and chatting about our region, our families and journalism as a career. Our son also enjoyed the conversation.
As for our local right-wing nuts, they gleaned on to an unflattering picture of me at the banquet (cropping out my son and David), and George Rebane happily let one of his nastiest “commentators” run it on his blog to score political points, complete with a few nasty comments.
Back in the real world, turnover at The Union — a small rural, community newspaper — is an ongoing problem.
The current publisher is a longtime “Swiftie,” and the HR person, at least to my recollection, is the longest-serving member. For most staffers, however, The Union seems to struggle to retain “outside talent” for any long period of time.
On top of that, the old-timers in our community largely are nasty to newcomers. It just isn’t a very friendly place for independent-minded young people. As a result, many of them move on.
Another one of the problems — besides our local culture — is that The Union underpays its young reporters, compared to housing and other costs. As Editor, I earned $60,000 per year. A reporter, at least at the time, earned about $35,000 annually.
In the end, young reporters such as David are better off working off at outfits such as Bay City News Service, long known as a good place for a young person to incubate their journalism career.
The opportunities for journalists, and many other young professionals, is in the big cities — not in rural communities such as ours.
As for the rest of us who live here, we need to create more local jobs — and better paying ones. The cost of living is too high for the salaries we pay.
At least for now, we are a retirement community with an aging, declining population. It isn’t much of a “sustainable” future unless we can turn it around.
Good luck David. I enjoyed our dinnertime conversation. I mentioned David’s departure to our son, and he will miss you too. “He was pretty cool,” he recalled.