This is going to be a lot harder than I thought.
As I sat down this week to introduce myself as the editor of the Mountain Home News, I expected to suddenly have an epiphany or moment of revelation where I could then "wax the poetic" or write something truly memorable.
But that never happened. So I guess I'll start off by simply saying "hello."
Although some folks out there might consider me the "new kid on the block," that wouldn't be very accurate. After all, I've spent the past 5 1/2 years serving as the eyes and ears of the Mountain Home community, and I don't see that ever changing.
Before I go any further, I need to stop for a moment and extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude to the one who groomed me for my current role. Kelly Everitt, who proudly served this community for 26 years, was the best teacher, the best mentor and the best friend I could ever have.
From day one, Kelly took me under his wing and showed me a whole new dimension associated with this profession. He helped me unravel the complexities of local and state government and how everything fits together.
He showed me how to see both sides of every issue and the importance of remaining objective and free of bias. Granted, we didn't agree on every topic, but perhaps that allowed both of us to see every side of every issue that affected those that live in this community.
I wish Kelly and his lovely wife, Rita, my best wishes as they move on to write the next chapter in their lives. I expect he will continue doing great things at his new post with the Idaho Department of Education, but I suspect that he will truly miss being the editor of this newspaper.
So where do we go from here? I'm guessing by now that some of you are curious about my background. Fair enough.
I got my start in journalism back in 1985 shortly after I enlisted in the Air Force. Oddly enough, being a newspaper reporter wasn't my first career choice (I actually expected that I would become a weather forecaster).
But that unexpected change in career options was ultimately the best thing that could've ever happened to me. I spent a total of 16 years running five military newspapers and publications before I "promoted" myself out of the job. I spent the remainder of my career as a supervisor grooming the next generation of military photojournalists.
However, my roots in the newspaper profession never waned. It remains my personal passion that grew stronger once I joined the Mountain Home News family.
I can truly say that my first days with the newspaper were nothing short of "baptism by fire." Saying my first days in the reporter's seat were "brutal" would probably be a compliment.
But like Kelly, I understand the importance of community newspapers. We are the critical link that informs, educates and sometimes entertains a combined readership spread across Elmore County and eastern Owyhee County.
We're just like any other newspaper that's out there in terms of our overall mission. It's just that we're a lot smaller than most and a bit bigger than a few others.
In total, there are just 12 of us that work together to turn hundreds of inches of copy, photographs and advertisements into a two-section newspaper that hits the streets every week without fail. It takes a series of tiny miracles each day to make sure our product reaches your doorstep.
With the changeover in the newspaper's editorship, some of you may be wondering whether the Mountain Home News is moving in a different direction. Ultimately, that answer is no. We will continue to be that "fly on the wall" by reporting the key issues affecting those that live, work and play in Mountain Home and across Elmore County.
But at the same time, changes are coming that will affect the overall look and feel of the publication. This is where you, our readers, come in because we're offering you a chance to be a part of that change.
In coming weeks, we will conduct a readership survey to gauge the public's opinion. We want to know what you enjoy the most -- what prompts you to pick up a newspaper every Wednesday -- and where we can make some improvements.
All of that feedback will then go toward a gradual redesign of the newspaper, both in terms of its appearance as well as content. Please note that things won't happen overnight because the goal is to take things slow.
In fact, if we've done our job right, you won't spot all the changes until one day you see that something is different. Then you'll realize that those changes actually happened several weeks back.
In short, I ask that you be patient as your hometown newspaper adapts to this latest change in its staff.
Because this is going to be a lot harder than I thought.
-- Brian S. Orban