Six years has past like six days.
I rolled into Augusta, booked a room at a local hotel, grabbed a pizza and settled in. The next morning I put on an outfit that was better suited for Men in Black II and met my new boss at the Gazette office.
After the introductions, the only question anyone had for me was, “Are you a Republican?”
After more than 750 columns since coming to work here, I think it is obvious that I don’t fit completely under either party’s umbrella.
My dad had the same job for more than 40 years. They had to close the business down to get him to leave. I was at my first newspaper for almost 14 years. I have been in Augusta for six years today.
So many things have changed in the past six years that I can no longer say I’m not good at change.
Something tells me the next six years may be even more hectic.
We live in a faster world. Everything is instant. Microwaved food, 100 ways to communicate with someone instantly and news that breaks within minutes of an event happening are all examples. We have accelerated our world.
When I first started in the newspaper business, getting a scoop meant finding out about a story and getting it reported, written and printed in the next day’s edition before the radio or television people found out.
Now, scoops are measured in seconds. Instead of protecting a story until the print version comes out, now you race to get the story online and pushed through social media to the digital portion of your readership.
When I first became editor of my hometown newspaper, I was 23 years old.
I knew very little. I still say I was hired as editor because I was the tallest one left in the newsroom when the editor and a photographer were fired after a fight with the publisher in the office.
I remember when we won the Sequoyah Award in the Oklahoma Press Association contest two years in a row when I was 24 and 25. In many circles in the industry, I was known as a great young editor.
One of my newspapers won the Sweepstakes award from the Kansas Press Association this year.
But now I am 42 years old. I’m not a great anything or a young anything. I’m just a guy who works with some really good journalists.
I have to face it.
A 37-year-old chimpanzee won a $10,000 prize for a painting he did. He didn’t even use a brush. He applied the paint with his tongue.
Page 2 of 2 - I can’t compete with that.
But what I can do is continue to give thanks for a job that still makes me as happy as it ever has. There is real value in waking up early in the morning and looking forward to going into the office.
I had to take a personality test when I was editor of my hometown newspaper. It said I was prone to burnout. I’m not sure when that will happen. I hope it never does.
I love what I do, where I do it and who I do it with.
It has been a great six years in this role. I can’t wait to see what the next six has in store for me.
Kent Bush is the publisher of the Augusta Gazette, the El Dorado Times, and the Andover American newspapers. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org