Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow Residents,
As of next week, I will be leaving Patch and handing over the duties of Local Editor. Another capable individual will be taking my place, so don't fret, Patch still has you covered for news content.
It has been a lot of work manning the helm of this site for almost two years, and it's hard to imagine this period coming to an end.
There have been so many highs and lows to bringing 24-hour news coverage to Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, a service this community had not yet experienced and, I feel, desperately needed.
It's hard to be objective about your own work, but I feel we did a decent job of covering all aspects of life in the Villages, from schools to government, and crime to the arts.
What I find more difficult is objectively ascertaining how the coverage has impacted this community. I've heard from people who are grateful for breaking news updates, and have come to rely on this interactive site to become informed about the everyday events that impact their lives.
I've also seen the negatives regarding anonymous comments and the vitriol that can consume divisive issues, which has been hard to monitor and is tough to police. Being such a small town, these online forums for discussion have offline consequences for many residents.
In part, I believe the negatives have come from the fact that we have done our job and covered those divisive issues that these Villages have struggled to understand and are continuing deal with, whether it is General Motors developments, or the deaths of two esteemed residents of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. In many ways it is hard, as a member of this community, to remove myself from these events.
Patch has been my life during these past two years. Waking up at 2 a.m. if the fire horn goes off, checking into tips readers have sent, trying to stay on top of the comment threads, sorting through hundreds of daily emails. Even when I was out of town, I was still writing and checking up on the site incessantly. I felt a responsibility to be on top of things for our readers, no matter what was happening, or how long the days became.
At some point the lines between citizen journalist and citizen became increasingly fuzzy. I started volunteering with the Tarrytown Ambulance Corps, organizing community cleanups with the Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Councils, and taking part in events as a resident instead of a reporter.
To the point, I have made these Villages my home. I care about what happens here, enjoy volunteering in the community, and I have strong opinions about many issues that I've had to be neutral about over these past two years. While I've spent this time reporting on the people and events that make up the local news, I'm ready to be on the other side of that equation as someone who takes an active role in bettering our communities.
I look forward to remaining as a fixture in town, but in a different way that will allow me to do more volunteer work in these great Villages. After a needed working vacation (my documentary company is in production on two full-length pieces), I plan on being back in Sleepy Hollow and I hope to see all of you again. If you need to reach me, I'll be at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 206-300-8200.
Thanks for making this such a wonderful place to live and accepting me into the community.