After 2½ years at the Marion County Record, only about 1½ years longer than I expected to be here, I must bid adieu as I start the next stage of my journey.
By the time most of you read this I already will be moving to St. Joseph, Missouri, but I undoubtedly will be thinking about my time in Marion County for years to come.
As someone who revels in self-reflection, I would like to extend some advice to my successor and any aspiring journalists who happen to read this.
Always strive to be sincere and don’t shy away from criticism. You will make mistakes. There are stories from more than a year ago that I still think about — stories I could have written more clearly or interviewed another source to better balance it.
It will leave a sour taste in your mouth, but the story is done. There always will be mistakes made and opportunities for improvement, so the importance lies in learning from those experiences.
The other lesson I learned in Marion was in the difference between where I wanted to be and where I needed to be. I didn’t expect to have my first job be serving a county of 12,000, but it was the right destination for me. I wasn’t ready to live in a big city or the breakneck reporting pace that comes with it.
Life in Marion taught me about designing a newspaper, interviewing sources, and editing, but I also learned about growing sunflowers and corn, fishing and hunting, and even a thing or two about how not to crash a car.
So, thank you Marion County, for all your lessons, expected or not.
— Alexander Simone
Editor’s note: We will miss Alex and wish him the best in his move to a larger newspaper. Until his long-term successor arrives, you and we will be treated to several old familiar bylines appearing in his stead.