All good things …

Published 5:07 pm Friday, January 17, 2020

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As the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. For me, the good thing ending is my time as publisher of The Tidewater News, and what you are reading now, friends, is my last column in that capacity.

Having been allowed to look after this institution for nearly a decade has truly been the joy of my professional life. Following in the footsteps of giants has been an honor. Serving you, and my community, has been a privilege. My hope is that as I enter into this next stage of my life, I can find a way to continue to do so.

Boone Newspapers, this newspaper’s parent company, is a first-class organization led by brilliant individuals who share my passion for community journalism. It is not, however, immune to the challenges adversely affecting the industry we love. It has just been better than most at adapting to those challenges and weathering the storm, and I have every expectation that they will continue to do so.

Unfortunately, one of the many ways we have had to adapt is by downsizing our staffs and streamlining our production processes. The same has been true for all newspaper companies. And because we continue to face headwinds as an industry, we are faced with difficult decisions every day. For the health and future vitality of our company, one of the decisions made has been to eliminate some leadership positions within the organization, and mine happens to be one of them.

The net result is that there will be fewer publishers in our organization who will in turn manage several newspapers other than just their own. On this point I want to be very clear that it is the right thing to do. While I will miss being a part of this wonderful institution, I fully support my company’s decision. This newspaper, as is the case for all community newspapers, is too important to go away. I am glad decisions are being made to ensure that it doesn’t.

Boone Newspapers has been very good to me for the last nine years. Steve Stewart, the gentleman I succeeded in this position, took a chance on a guy looking to make a change and offered me a career in newspapers. As I stated in my very first column, I never imagined I’d find myself in this place, but I’m so grateful that I did. I had no way of knowing at the time that he wasn’t just offering me a job but an opportunity to do something that I would love fiercely and passionately.

Steve has not only been my mentor in the industry, but is also a close and valued friend. And as thankful as I am that he gave me this opportunity, I am perhaps more grateful that he has allowed me to close this chapter with grace and dignity. He has my undying loyalty and respect.

My staff is composed of the most loyal, dedicated and finest individuals one could ever hope to work alongside. I have tried to express to them in recent days just how much I have appreciated their efforts, but there aren’t adequate words to describe how sincere my feelings are for them. I love them like family and will miss spending my days with them.

Our readers, whom I also consider my friends, thank you. Thank you for inviting me into your homes and businesses over these last several years. Thank you for taking the time to hear what I had to say. I know for sure that you didn’t agree with me all of the time. I’m also pretty sure some of you never agreed with me at any time. But I can promise you this, that if I wrote it, I meant it, and I appreciate you hearing me out. You are the reason why this newspaper exists. You are the reason this newspaper must continue to exist. You deserve the best. I may not have always delivered, but please know I always tried.

God has shepherded me into each new chapter of my life. Each and every time He did, He was ushering me into one better than the one He delivered me out of. I have full faith and confidence in the fact that, once again, He is by my side as my family and I enter yet another. It is my hope and prayer that He continues to bless our community, as well as each and every one of you, as richly as He has blessed me.

On that note, I will not say goodbye. Rather, I will simply say I look forward to us seeing each other around town. Please smile and wave when we do.

For the past nine years, TONY CLARK has been privileged to serve his community through his work at The Tidewater News. Moving forward, he can be reached at