THE INSIDE SCOOP: So long Harlan County!

Published 1:53 pm Monday, November 8, 2021

After being born and raised in Harlan County for 21 (almost 22) years of life, nearly three of which were spent working for The Harlan Enterprise, I found my chance to spread my wings and take flight.

This Friday will be my last day reporting for The Enterprise, and the first day of many on my new adventure working in Frankfort for The State Journal. While I will miss these mountains and the many people I have come to know through my career, I can’t explain how excited I am to join The State Journal team.

When I first joined The Enterprise in early 2019, I had no idea what I was doing.

Seriously.

I had graduated high school in May 2018, completed some college, and somehow in the course of trying to figure out life as a young mom, I found myself clicking the “submit” button on an application for “general assignment reporter” for the newspaper.

Since then, I’ve worked tirelessly to learn the ins and outs of The Enterprise world, right down to the number of inches on a single sheet of newsprint and how much space certain ads might deduct from the overall inch count I would have to fill with news stories.

From figuring up word counts and transferring those numbers into inches, learning AP style, observing council meetings, listening in on sports events, taking pictures and running around Harlan County tirelessly like a crazy person, meeting new people and seeing amazing places at every corner, I’m not ashamed to tell you I’m still learning.

It makes me happy to say that.

I never would have saw myself working in the newspaper industry in high school. Quite frankly, I just wanted to be a novelist like James Patterson or R.L. Stine and have the pleasure of seeing a couple books on the shelves at our local library or at the high school I graduated.

Even though I’ve had a couple books make it to print, none of that has excited me quite like this. Each week is a refreshing new adventure.

I’ve sincerely enjoyed getting out of my comfort zone and meeting individuals from all walks of life in Harlan County. It painted a new picture for me even after having lived here my entire life.

Moving forward with The State Journal, I’m excited and eager to take what I’ve learned here so far and apply it somewhere new.

Even though I’ll be leaving the county and exploring this new opportunity, I wholeheartedly feel like Harlan is coming with me, especially as I’ve packed up my office.

I keep every little thing I get sent to my office. From the first “thank you” card Brandon Pennington at the Harlan Center sent me after the first time we had met to a letter from Mitch McConnell congratulating me on a Chamber award I received for dedication to Harlan County through writing, even birthday cards I was sent, all of these things and more will be the very things placed in my new workspace.

Without the area’s continued support, especially in rougher times like the pandemic, tragedies and more, I most definitely would not have made it this far. It’s something about Harlan that just makes you want to do more and be more.

This certainly isn’t my final goodbye, more like a see-you-later column.

Thank you for pushing me to be the best I can be. I hold this as a #HarlanCountyProud moment in my heart.