Paul Milton

Those who write about themselves either have an air of self-importance or are a fool for a subject. But as I prepare to leave the editor's chair at the Carroll County Times today, I find myself doing it anyway. I'll try to be brief.

Last month, I accepted a voluntary buyout from Tribune Publishing, the parent company of the Carroll County Times and The Baltimore Sun. I did so with reluctance and, though it was ultimately right for me personally, it still feels bittersweet. With 32 years of running newspapers in this region under my belt, and after just eight months here, I never imagined I'd be leaving this job this soon. Yet, here I am.

Advertisement

So I write this note, not out of some notion that my departure will be of great significance to anyone but myself, but as my way of saying thank you to the Carroll County community for being so welcoming in my brief time here. When I first arrived here as editor, I wrote that being in a place with a sense of community was important to me. I had hoped to find the sense of it here and, to no real surprise, I did. I discovered an engaged community that cares about its neighbors, its politics, its safety, its schools. Boy, does it care about its schools.

I also found that Carroll has a good sense of what it wants to be. Not every place does. People here enjoy their independence, their way of life. And, to put it mildly, most are happy to not be linked too closely to downtown Baltimore, its neighbor to the east.

I can sympathize. For my entire career, I've worked in the suburbs without giving a lot of thought to writing the great expose or making my way to a big daily newspaper. Some, both colleagues and friends, never quite understood how I could be happy covering things like local traffic issues, a town's Fourth of July parade or the celebration of a new centenarian. They don't see these stories as the ones that actually impact our lives. But I do. Sure, we should care about wars in faraway lands or global warming or whatever crazy thing Donald Trump is saying. But if we're being honest, the issues we seem to care about the most are the ones right here in our own back yard.

A good reporter can find important, relevant stories anywhere, even in places far from the big-time spotlight — places like Carroll County. It doesn't make you a lesser journalist, as some might want to label you. The best newspapers help build up a community by being both an advocate and, when necessary, a friendly critic. That's been our goal; readers should expect no less.

Starting tomorrow, Wayne Carter, will take over as editor. Wayne's been here for nearly nine years and knows the community as well as anyone. In the time I've worked with Wayne, I've found that he shares similar values for local reporting and news coverage. And I can't say enough good things about Trish Carroll, the publisher here and a longtime Carroll County resident. She's as committed to local coverage as anyone. I leave knowing that the newsroom will be in good hands.

For me, I'm not exactly sure what's on the agenda. What I do know is that working here in Carroll has given me the best of opportunities. It also gave me a chance to meet people, to share a part of their lives. For all of this, I am forever grateful.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement