Every Tuesday at 4:01 p.m., a minute after we put our fourth and final Halston Media publication to bed, I start thinking about next week’s issue of Yorktown News.

This is a job that does not allow for much rose-smelling.

But, in putting together our Year in Review issue, I must admit that I became a little emotional looking at all the stories we told and moments we captured in the last 52 issues.

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To say I’m proud of the team I work with would be a severe understatement. Readers are often surprised to learn we’re a small staff working out of a small office, and I think that’s a testament to their hard work.

This is a small group of people that takes no days off and cuts no corners. Every single week, they put together four award-winning products that rival publications with staffs 10 times the size of ours. They do not do it for fame or fortune. They do it because they love their communities and they believe in the local news.

This is a job that can easily be mailed in by publishing press releases and watching meetings from home, but, time after time, when faced with these choices, the people at Halston Media almost always choose the more difficult route, because they know it means giving our readers a better product.

Being on a small staff also means that my readers have direct access to me. I read and listen to every single one of the hundreds of emails, voicemails, and Facebook messages I receive each day. I can’t make everybody happy, but I sure try.

We are a privately owned newspaper, even though it has never felt that way to me. I have met many people for the first time who talk to me like I’m an old friend. They hold our editorial staff to high standards and have no problem telling me where they think I could have done a better job.

Our readers behave as if they own a stake in Yorktown News, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Though usually I don’t hear from you until we goof up, there are still some readers who call me up just to say they love the paper and read it cover to cover every week. Nothing beats that feeling. When you tell me how much you enjoyed our coverage of your daughter’s Girl Scout project or your son’s theater debut, it makes all the late nights and long weekends worth it.

Looking back through past issues isn’t just emotional from a professional standpoint, but from a personal one. I joined Halston Media almost five years ago, and though my byline remains the same, the person behind it has grown more than I ever knew possible, and most of that is thanks to my wife, Julia, whom I married in September.

I will never be confused for the life of the party, but the people who have seen me transition from an intense, reclusive person to a slightly less intense, slightly less reclusive person can vouch for the positive strides I have made since I met her.

I was a young, shy reporter when I started at Halston Media, and she gave me the confidence to be so much more.

I’d also like to thank my publisher, Brett Freeman, who for some reason trusts me enough with running two of our four weekly newspapers. As a third-generation Yorktowner who grew up here and hopes to raise a family here, it’s a privilege to work for my hometown paper.

To our readers, we hope you had fantastic holiday celebrations with your families, and we wish you the very best in the new year. Our hard-working staff is already well on its way to producing the second issue of 2018. We can’t wait to capture more of your amazing moments.

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