A column by Susan Bromley
As a journalist, the start of a story, the lede, is often the hardest to write.
But sometimes, the ending is even more difficult.
This is the case for me as I prepare to end my story at The Citizen after 12-and-a-half years.
I still remember vividly my humble beginnings here in December 2004, my first stories about a mariachi band and a new dog grooming business. I was so excited to have my first full-time journalism job! In those early days, our then-photographer, Bob Flath, laughed at my enthusiasm about stories, saying I was happier than a pig in sh*t. Not really sure how happy a pig in sh*t is, but if ecstatic is the description, it fits me when I find a good story.
Happy is how I think someone should feel when they are doing what they love and what they feel they are meant to be doing.
An essential part of my overall happiness is dependent on what stories I am writing. Over the years here, I have written hundreds of stories, somewhere in the neighborhood of almost 3,000. I haven’t loved them all, you haven’t, either. The running joke after we do stories we know are likely to upset someone is that we should duck when we see someone coming to our door.
I have covered plenty of controversy, as well as everything from crime to schools to government to sports and features on individuals. I’ve wrote stories on elections, murders, pipelines, budgets, trails and a years-long sewer saga.
Sometimes they are mundane stories, sometimes they are necessary stories, sometimes they are exciting stories. I have seen firsthand the aftermath of a tornado, accompanied firefighters into a burning house, and flown in a four-seater plane, all in pursuit of stories.
My favorite stories though are always the personal ones about the people who live here or are from here— they are about you and I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to hear, and write, your stories.
Thank you for sharing with me your lives— your triumphs, your tragedies, your travels. Without you and your willingness to share, there are no stories.
Journalism has faced numerous changes and challenges over the last several years.
To say it’s hard to watch my chosen career field be denigrated and decimated is an understatement. But I believe most journalists choose this field out of a desire to educate, inform, and help people. That has always been my motivation and I’ve tried my best here in Ortonville, supported by my incredible friends who’ve worked alongside me in The Citizen office— David, Jackie, Allison, Karen and Patrick, and the Sherman family, who continue to publish four community newspapers, and of course, always, YOU, the readers, who have taught me so much.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn and do what I am compelled to do and what I love— listen to and tell stories!
Which brings me to that other challenging part of a story, the end. But there is good news— there are always more stories waiting to be told and to be read. It’s just time to turn the page.