By the time you read this…

Published 5:28 pm Saturday, July 11, 2015

When you look back upon an empty apartment or home as you are preparing for a move, there’s always a sense of sadness. That emptiness represents a part of your life being over, as you transition toward the next phase.

Back in May, my fiancée graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Masters of Library Science degree. We tried our best to remain local, with her being willing to commute to North Suffolk or Norfolk for work. Ultimately, it didn’t pan out. Jobs either didn’t materialize or opened too late.

So last month, she accepted a job as an assistant branch manager in Greenville, South Carolina. In the beginning, I had told her that I wanted to do my best to remain in Franklin. Though, if it came down to it, the assumption was that I would be more flexible in finding a job. At least, compared to her coming to Franklin jobless. So, I essentially put her career ahead of my own.

On Saturday, I will complete my move out of the area, and this will be my last edition as the managing editor of The Tidewater News. It’s an exciting time with possibilities, but also a sad time.

There are many stories that I never got to write. Some of them were letting people off the hook. The mayor and school superintendent discovered that I’m often so busy that if they make it difficult for me to track down a story, I may never get to it before the timeliness goes away. On the other end, included were enterprise stories that never really had time to get off the ground and ones where I hit a dead end in reporting. I apologize deeply to those whose story I never told. Even if it is a good excuse, it is still an excuse.

It took me a solid year to really get acclimated with the community, and a few more months to really get down managing this job. Because of that time delay, I don’t feel like I had quite lived up to my potential here. But, hopefully, I still left the paper a little better than I found it.

We expanded the sports section, more hard-hitting pieces were produced, more focus was placed on photography and, though it was fewer of them than I would have liked, we did several enterprise stories. Those are stories that aim to go deeper into an issue, hopefully providing you with information you didn’t already know.

We even won a few Virginia Press Association awards, including the Grand Sweepstakes both years I was here.

It has been a pleasure working with all of my coworkers, as well as the vast majority of the community leaders and sources.

I will not name names because, inevitably, that will lead to me leaving someone out who was important. And plus, there’s really not enough space in the paper to thank all of the people who made an impact on helping make this a better community newspaper.

Really, that’s what it is all about — the community. With a staff the size of ours, made up of mostly people not from here, we can’t be everywhere and know everything. That’s why we deeply appreciate when you call or email to provide us with information, or when you agree to help us write something or take pictures.

Hopefully, for the next editor, you will be just as welcoming. As for me, all I have left to say is… Thanks, Franklin, I’ve enjoyed it.

Cain Madden is the former managing editor of The Tidewater News. He can be reached at