Some change will do you good

Change isn’t often easy — and at 52, I haven’t been a fan of it for several years.

But sometimes when change is thrust upon you, you find yourself wondering why you were concerned.

That was the position I found myself in a couple of months ago when The Vindicator suddenly ann-ounced it was going out of business, effective Aug. 31, after 150 years of publishing.

I’m very proud of the work I did and of the many accomplishments the newspaper achieved during my time there.

Often in journalism, reporters change beats. That’s the nature of this business. Someone leaves and that person’s position needs to be replaced.

That wasn’t the case for me. Sure, I’ve filled in for people over the years, and with a shrinking staff I was frequently asked to handle unfamiliar assignments.

But I started in 1995 in the Niles bureau, worked there for five-plus years and then went to the newspaper’s downtown Youngstown office. There, I spent 19 years as the politics writer and for more than 14 years I covered Youngstown government.

Being on the beat for that long, I’ve outlasted many people and developed numerous contacts.

I’m on my fifth governor. I’ve covered five different Youngstown mayors and with the turnover on Youngstown City Council largely because of term limits — which were eliminated last year — I’ve lost track of the number of different Youngstown council members I’ve dealt with over the years. I’ve had several adventures and far too many colorful stories to tell.

After learning of The Vindicator’s closing, I initially felt somewhat lost. Overall, I’ve been a newspaper reporter for 31 years, and it’s not only what I know, it’s what I love. I still enjoy writing articles and columns, working on deadline and going the extra mile to gain a deeper understanding of an issue so I can share that with readers.

When Brenda Linert, the editor of the Tribune Chronicle, asked if I was interested in coming here to cover politics and Youngstown, I was genuinely excited to have the opportunity. I had some other offers, but this is where I wanted to be from the beginning.

While we haven’t seen much of each other over the years, Brenda and I go way back. We used to compete against each other in Niles 20 or so years ago. She’s an excellent journalist and someone I’ve long respected.

There are many familiar faces in the Tribune Chronicle newsroom from my days in Niles including Bob Coupland and Guy Vogrin, as well as others I’ve known for years such as Raymond Smith, Ron Selak, Andy Gray and Michael Semple. And the people at the Tribune Chronicle have made me feel greatly welcomed.

On top of that, we also added Ed Runyan, Tom Wills, Rick Logan and others from The Vindicator.

It’s an ideal blend of journalists who have a great understanding of the Mahoning Valley, and I’m thrilled that Ogden, the newspaper’s parent company, purchased The Vindicator’s masthead, website domain and subscription list.

My first day at the Tribune Chronicle and its Vindicator edition was at a place I’ve loved since I came to the area years ago: the Canfield Fair.

I spent some time at the newspaper’s tent greeting old friends, meeting longtime readers of my work and introducing myself.

The Tribune Chronicle has a history of excellent journalism, and I’m grateful to be a part of it.

I’m confident we’re going to continue to produce something special that will inform, educate and interest you.

It’s great to be here, and I hope you will continue to read the work done by myself and my colleagues.

Skolnick covers politics for the Tribune Chronicle and The Vindicator edition.


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