Throughout my years in the news business, I’ve had the good fortune to work with a lot of talented journalists in the early part of their careers.
I’ve spent about all my professional life with smaller news organizations, and I’ve often commented — only partly in jest — that we are teaching institutions.
It’s been a true privilege to have worked with a surprising number of bright, talented and driven younger journalists, and more than a few have gone on to excel at some pretty impressive places.
I take no credit for their success, and only hope that I’ve helped to create environments where talented younger people can learn and grow and fulfill their potential.
When I was first starting out, I longed to work for an editor who could really show me the ropes. Certainly, there were folks along the way who helped me out, but I was fairly far along in my career before I was able to work with someone I could really call a mentor. To this day, I’m grateful that I found that person — a phenomenal editor named Allen Parsons.
All of this is a rather long-winded introduction to my main point, which is that I am pleased and proud to be working with some impressive young journalists at Noozhawk.
Noozhawk founder Bill Macfadyen and I go way back, and in my mind his credentials are impeccable. Likewise, our managing editor, Michelle Nelson, is a seasoned pro.
But coming in as the new guy several months ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect of the other staffers, who I knew were early in their careers.
Any fears I had were soon laid to rest. Reporters Lara Cooper and Giana Magnoli quickly showed me that they are smart, talented, dedicated and driven. They have earned the respect of the community they cover, and have mine as well.
And now I’m pleased to announce that we’ve added another young gem to the Noozhawk flock. Gina Potthoff joined us this week as a reporter, and I’m confident she will shine just as brightly as the others.
I first hired Gina, sight unseen, about a year and a half ago, when I was editor of several newspapers in the North County. Beyond all else, I was impressed with the courage that she showed in taking the leap from small-town Ohio to Santa Maria, a place she had never been and really knew nothing about.
But Gina had decided it was time to venture out into the world — California, in particular — and was not to be deterred.
In a way it was not surprising. She had achieved much during her time working at the campus newspaper at her alma mater, Bowling Green State University, and had excelled during a lengthy internship at the Columbus Dispatch.
I knew I was on to something when one of the Dispatch’s editors sent me an unsolicited email saying, in short, “Hire this woman!”
I did, and I never regretted it. Gina immediately showed me that, although she still had things to learn (don’t we all?), she could do the job and do it well.
When the chance came to add a reporter to our staff, I immediately thought of Gina, and was thrilled that she, once again, was willing to take a leap of faith.
Gina will be dividing her time between general news and business coverage. For the time being, she’ll spend part of the week in Santa Barbara, but also will help Noozhawk extend its reach into the North County — an important priority for us in the months and years ahead.
So I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Gina to the Noozhawk team. And I hope you get the chance to know Gina and our other fine staffers before they hit the big leagues, as I’m sure they will.