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OPINION

Addio.....adieu....and goodbye: This editor's final words to a community

K. William Boyer
Washington County News

Well readers, the time has come. I have done all I can to assist Washington County News and Holmes County Times Advertiser and now it is time for me to step aside.

I think of myself sort of like Mary Poppins, I was to "stay until the wind changes." My goal was to help bring the community feel back to the papers and make their voices heard. So now that I have done that to the best of my abilities and as much as the community would allow) my task is done and it is time for me to go on to where I'm needed next.  

In the year and a half I have been in Holmes and Washington Counties I have learned many things, things I will always take with me. Holmes and Washington Counties has a lot of potential and my hope for both counties is that they can grow and flourish. 

K. William Boyer, editor of Washington County News and Holmes County Times Advertiser

As we all know, everything we know about journalism and newspapers in general is in a huge state of change. It is neither a good or bad thing, it is just the facts. But in truth everything is in a state of change... education, shopping, everything. And yes, it is true news is shifting more and more towards the digital age but that does not mean that your community feel in news and the print itself is dead. While I am still a big advocate on keeping the print alive, by enhancing the digital side of your local paper I have found,  thanks to the communities input and suggestions, the paper's website views went up from averaging less than 30,000 page views per month to averaging over 100,000 page views per month toping out at over 176,000 one month. That was wonderful considering this paper lies in counties that have a lower than half percentage rate of people who have internet access combined. It also averages to triple the population in both counties combined, which means Holmes and Washington are being seen to a larger audience. 

Many things are changing, you can fight against it and be mad at the outcome, OR you can change with the times and adapt. The stance I took was, "Ok, this is what is happening, so now how do I adapt that and make it fit to the local community." Remember, you can't stop change, but you can adapt it. 

Now as with any community, not everyone will always see eye to eye, disagreements will be had and at times plans will not go as we had hope. But the important thing to always remember is that being a community means being united and working together. It is a far greater, stronger, and more rewarding thing to help build something or someone up, then to tear it or them down.  My hope is that you will continue to work together to grow. 

I was reminded of something Chipley's Mayor Tracy Andrews recently said, "We are here to serve." Well we are, all of us in some way or form are here to serve each other. As I depart, someone else will come in to serve you. Give them your support. Be patient with them as they navigate the waters to form their vision of how best bring the community news to you. Be courteous to them. They will need your graciousness as it is not an easy thing to be put in a position where you have two distinct different communities you are tasked with providing news for in an ever changing world.  Be welcoming to them and give them a chance.  As the Washington County News and Holmes County Times continues its change along with the rest of our country, continue to support the workers who have been there for decades and the ones who just join the crew. Know that even though I am no longer your editor, if I can ever be of any help, you can always reach out to me. my cell phone number will remain the same, my email will be kboyer@gannett.com. You can ask me any question and I will try as best I can to get you an answer. 

And so readers I want to leave you with this blessing: 

"May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you ever in the palm of His hand." 

and with that I say...Addio.....adieu.... farewell, and goodbye. 

K. William Boyer is the former editor of Washington County News and Holmes County Times Advertiser. He will begin serving as managing editor of Devil's Lake Journal in January 2021. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com