Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

A reporter's reflection


January 16, 2020 | View PDF

“So soon? Didn’t you just get here?” Greg Podsiki at the post office asked when I went in to forward my mail. To me, 16 months has felt like both worn out decades and fragmented moments. 

Come Sunday, I’ll be driving my 1986 Toyota 4Runner to Anchorage, where I’ll connect to a flight to the Arctic Circle. I received a grant to carry out climate change reporting in Utqiagvik— a topic I first broke ground on here in Haines. Remember that pollen apocalypse?

To you, reader, I want to say thanks. To George Figdor, who emailed me taking issue with my word choice on my first swing at assembly coverage--the Stand for Salmon ballot initiative. He pointed to a word I used to describe how proponents believed the ballot would protect salmon- by “limiting” large-scale development, which wasn’t necessarily true. He was right and I was impressed. Words matter.

To Shannon Donahue, the impassioned conservationist who once called my coverage of mining issues biased. To Liam Cassidy, who knew my name from my byline long before we ever met, and would enthusiastically reference specific sentences I’d written when he called the paper to talk to Kyle. To Roger Schnabel, who has hung up on me in tough conversations, then called back to apologize.

To Kyle Clayton, a darned good boss, who has consistently approached my work with balance and a refrain to dig deeper. Who talks about books the way many people talk about loved ones.

You all have magnified my impact, challenged me and made me a more thoughtful, resilient reporter.

When people say work and life should remain separate, it’s obvious they’ve never been a small-town reporter. I will miss this job and the entangled, beautiful way it has interfaced with my life. 

I so appreciate the times when an anonymous voice called the CVN office to tell me the headlights have been left on in my car, or when my birthday was announced amongst the rest on the radio. I’ll miss Ampersand on First Fridays, Body IQ in the frosty morning, Blake Melts and friends from their 20s well into their 80s. I’ll miss the hues of pink on Santa Claus Mountain at twilight, friends like family, and, how when Alaska Seaplanes pilots land in Haines, they sometimes say ‘welcome home.’

And to think, I almost took a job in Montana over this. 


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