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Time to turn a new employment page

By By J.W. Greenhill, Hartselle Enquirer
The time has come for a changing of the guard at the Hartselle Enquirer and I am hoping it will be for the better.
This week's opinion will be my last as an official employee of the Enquirer. Hopefully it won't be the last column I write for my hometown newspaper. But I'll be a guest writer from now on.
Starting next week, I will be working for a nationwide portrait and yearbook studio, honing my photography skills at events around North Alabama.
Part of the reason for the change is the fact that I backed into journalism. I've never had the burning flame inside to hunt out the hot story or rake the muck to expose the unsightly underbelly of … anything.
It's just not my cup of tea.
My "cup of tea" was sports and feature stories, not the hard, fast-breaking news stuff. I liked the relaxed pace of what many call "community journalism."
I preferred to call it "scrapbook journalism."
During the last three and one half years I have enjoyed covering the sports events in Hartselle and the county. Covering five state championships in a three and one half year span is a blast. It's always easier to write a win than a loss.
Concentrating on the sports and trying to get the kids' names in the paper for the Moms and Dads to clip and save suited me just fine. I loved spending my days at the ball fields trying to get the really gripping action photo of one of the local youngsters.
Two years ago, I got a promotion at the paper that propelled me into the mainstream of journalism. But the duties of Managing Editor and later Community Editor proved to be more than I could handle. As a result, I haven't been able to do either job as I feel it should be done.
Along the way, however, I rediscovered a love of writing that had slipped away from me over the years.
At the first of this year, writing these opinion columns became part of my responsibilities.
Having never been called on to just spew out a torrent of rambling thoughts, I looked at the new assignment like a calf at a new gate. I was not enthusiastic.
After a while though, writing these columns became the highlight of my workweek. There is an element of creativity in the inspiration of writing a column that writing a news story just doesn't match for me. And along the way I got to do a lot less photography, something I really missed.
So while I won't be haunting the ball fields and boardrooms as part of a regular beat anymore, I'm very likely to show up at council meetings and such as a rank-and-file citizen. Those visits likely will inspire a column from time to time. And I'm very likely to be shooting pictures along the sidelines this fall as usual, just not at Hartselle.
On the sports front, a young man by the name of Nick Johnston will take over my former responsibilities at the Enquirer. It is my sincere hope local residents will show Nick all the help and encouragement that you have shown me through the years.

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