For everyone who just filed me in the rolodex as the new education reporter, I apologize. Less than a month after I joined the staff of the Voice, I find myself sitting in the managing editor's chair, thanks to the departure of Don Frances. I still haven't updated my voicemail message, let alone figured out what to do with a few hundred suddenly out-of-date business cards.
While my time here has been brief, I'm no stranger to the newspaper business. I got my first job at a community newspaper in Redwood City when I was a junior in high school, and that was ... well, more than half a lifetime ago. That was when I discovered my love of the newspaper business, and I've remained true to it ever since. Another after-school job at a local newspaper followed, then college, where I wrote for various publications, including the weekly newspaper.
Most recently, I've been at The Almanac, the Voice's sister paper based in Menlo Park. In my 14 years there, I've covered stories on every beat, and gotten to know every nook and cranny of its territory. I've written more stories than I can count on Steve Jobs' quest to tear down a historic Woodside mansion. I covered a wine cellar heist in Atherton, fatalities on the Caltrain tracks, fugitive hunts and endless stories about traffic problems.
There have been murder mysteries, construction controversies, budget surpluses and gaping budget shortfalls. Breaking the cycle of bullying in middle school, adopting controversial math books, and teaching kids to teach science to virtual students in the computer lab. Building department scandals in Atherton, law-breaking police officers, consternation over high-speed rail, and oh my, the land-use controveries. At The Almanac I had a stack of environmental impact reports cluttering my cubicle that was nearly as tall as I am.
In fact, on my first day, I was handed the foot-thick draft EIR for Stanford's Sand Hill Road projects and advised to familiarize myself with it.
When I was a teenager imagining my future career, I had no idea how much arcane knowledge about zoning codes and traffic delays at intersections I'd need to acquire.
Over the years I developed a real appreciation for community journalism, the kind that's practiced by the Voice and its sister papers. It's not necessarily high-profile or flashy, but it's absolutely vital. A good local paper keeps its readers informed, keeps its local government honest and accountable, and reflects its community in a way that just can't be duplicated by reporters who aren't familiar with the area. I'm thrilled to be part of the Voice, a newspaper that's an intrinsic part of a city with such a vibrant, fascinating community. And I'm excited to start getting to know Mountain View better. It's going to take a while until I know its ins and outs as well as the Voice's terrific, dedicated staff, but I can't wait to start that journey.