Change is one of the few constants in life

By Dwight Collins | Jul 06, 2016

Camden — Not to sound cliché, but all good things come to an end.

A month ago I made the tough decision to leave The Camden Herald and VillageSoup as a way to make a change and broaden my horizons. I have enjoyed my three-plus years back being a journalist in my hometown, however life has a way of leading you where it wants you to go and I feel like I can do my best work helping others.

I'm a people person, so I am taking those skills and putting them to good use helping others in the mental health field. Lord knows I have had the practice and as I see it we all need a little help.

One of the perks of the job is the connections I made with my neighbors, not just the ones next door or down the street, but all of the people who make up Knox County. I will miss going to events and taking pictures to record the history of the area as it happens. “We are the paper of record,” I would cry as people talked about our competition explain to others that 100 years from now, it would be my name as the byline on a story that historians are reading for research. That is pretty important when you think about it, I was writing history while it was being made. Pretty cool.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who have stopped me in the store or on the street to tell me how much they enjoy reading what I write. It's confirmation to me that I have worth and that my dedication and hard work is appreciated.

The newspaper business is not easy, you're up late, in early, always chasing a lead and hoping that stories are done by deadline. That in itself brings a lot of stress to the job, combine that with the importance of fair and accurate reporting while living in a small town, one becomes a bit overwhelmed at times. Thank goodness that I have had two bosses here at the paper that have made life a little bit easier. Stephanie Grinnell and Kim Lincoln have made it easier for me to be the guy in the know and have always treated me with respect. I honestly should have made the move a while ago, however these two made it hard to leave. I guess my badge of honor is that in my short time back, I have stuck it out through two editors and four other reporters, which wasn't easy but it's not my nature to leave a good boss hanging.

One of the hardest things about being a reporter in your hometown is that when something tragic happens, I usually know the person it happened to and the people affected by it. The death of my son's friend, a hostage standoff, fishing vessels sinking, fires, car crashes; I have reported on them all and it never got easier.

On the flip side, I have had the opportunity to meet some fascinating people over the years and those are the relationships that will last because I took an interest in who they were and what they were doing. Whether it was getting to go sailing on the Olad, interviewing a teenage medium, or a 14-year old entrepreneur from Lincolnville, I have been able to use my knowledge of the area and the people in it to tell a good story.

I started reporting in 2004 and due to no fault of my own was forced into multiple “jobs” until I found an opportunity to return to what is in my blood. The need to know and the ability to report on it made it easy for me.

Again, this wasn't an easy decision to come to — I love what I do and I will always have a passion for telling a story. I love taking pictures and capturing the moment, whether at the Windjammer races or an elementary school play, nothing makes me happier than getting the front page, above-the-fold picture.

It might be ego driven, but I like having my name attached to a great story or an amazing picture and my line of work never leaves me short of things to talk about. I kind of enjoy being the resident expert on local topics — because, well —  it is my job.

So as one chapter ends and another begins, I hope to spend more time with my kids as they are quickly growing up and finding their own identities. I have a small window to make it happen. I don't see this as goodbye forever, more like goodbye for now. I hope that I live a very long life and the skills I picked up along the way will always have some value and maybe I can live a freelancer's life.

For now, a new beginning learning a new job and schooling for certifications will add to my resume of being a jack of all trades. Variety it the spice of life they say, so I'm going to add some new ones to the rack.

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Comments (2)
Posted by: Ron Hawkes | Jul 07, 2016 06:51

Best wishes Dwight! Sounds like a good move for you my friend!!


Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jul 06, 2016 16:03

Good luck Dwight and smooth sailing into retirement. I will miss your rhetoric.

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