Many years ago when I was a college student trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up, I was originally majoring in education with hopes of becoming a physical education teacher and coach.
Surprisingly though — probably especially so to my high school English teachers — English composition classes in college came easy for me. I had an interest in writing, too, so when I graduated from Southern State Community College and moved on to Morehead State University, I decided to try a double major of journalism and education.
Things didn’t go quite as planned at Morehead. Toward the end my first year there I came home one weekend and met a girl, the same sweet, little woman who is now my wife. I went back to Morehead the next fall, but my heart was not in it because I missed my girl, and I withdrew from college.
A year or so later, after working a summer and part of the autumn at The 7 Caves, I saw an add in what was then The Press Gazette for a sports writer. Since I had studied journalism and physical education — and needed a job — sports writing seemed right up my alley. So I went in and applied.
I was asked to go home that evening, watch Monday Night Football, write a story about the game, and bring it back to the newspaper. I turned my story in the next day. I must have did OK because in October of 1983, I was hired as a sports writer for what is now The Times-Gazette.
A couple weeks ago another newspaper opportunity came my way. When former Times-Gazette Publisher and Editor Gary Abernathy decided to become a county commissioner, I was asked to replace him as editor. I accepted and am looking forward to the new challenge.
It is a bit odd without Gary here, and even more odd to be sitting in his old office as I type this column. Back in 1983 when I was first hired here, Gary had just been hired here about a week before. Seven years later I moved on, and not long thereafter Gary did, too. But somehow, we both found our way back and had been working here together again for the past seven years until a couple weeks ago.
I will not pretend in any way to be as talented as Gary Abernathy in many aspects of the newspaper business. But hopefully, I have some strengths of my own, and we will forge ahead and continue to bring you the quality coverage of your communities you have come to expect for more than 200 years.
We are blessed to have a wonderful staff here at The Times-Gazette. There are not near as many of us as there once were, but most of those of us here have been working together for many years, and we have a more than pleasant work atmosphere. Take that for what you will, but it is nothing but the honest truth. A couple of the more recent hires in our newsroom have only enhanced that atmosphere.
On Monday we will add another news reporter to our editorial staff. His name is Tim Colliver. He is a Mowrystown area native who graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1975. He has more than 32 years experience as a broadcaster at stations all over Ohio and Kentucky, including a stint from October of 1978 to May of 1979 at WSRW in Hillsboro. He also spent 15 years teaching and managing at the International School of Broadcasting in Dayton, has published two books, and is a local minister.
He is genuinely excited about returning to the media field, and I hope you will welcome him with open arms.
In closing, I would like you know that my office and phone line are always open — well, most of the time anyway. If you know of, or see something that might be of interest to the people of Highland County, give me a shout. Because afterall, our job as reporters is to provide you with the information that informs, entertains and keeps you wanting to read our stories both in print and online. In other words, without you, there would be no us. We may not be able to tackle every request that comes our way, but we will certainly listen.
Thanks for reading.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.