I can remember studying Walter Cronkite in the fourth grade and my teacher turned to me and said: You should be a journalist. You would be perfect for it. You are always such an attentive listener.
Being a journalist came up again when my mean old English teacher handpicked me to attend Journalism Camp (yes, it’s a real thing) my junior year of high school.
And just one more episode affirmed my career choice when Laura Widmer at Northwest Missouri State looked over all my high school yearbooks and newspapers and said, “I would love to have you on our staff for any of our student publications.”
So it’s easy to say journalism has been a passion of mine since I was 10 years old.
Now, I won’t lie to you. The newspaper business can be a risky one. And sometimes you can go through some pretty rough situations, like losing your mentor and friend.
And for those of you who know my mentor, you can imagine how much he will be missed at The Lee’s Summit Journal. His departure put me through a gamut of emotions, but the one emotion that sticks is determination.
And that’s why I’m here to tell this community:
I won’t give up. I won’t stop my commitment to high-quality journalism. Taking that away from me would be like someone chopping off a finger or arm.
I won’t stop my dedication to the people of this community because I was taught, by one of the greatest journalists I know, that putting the people in your community first is Rule No. 1.
That getting your hands dirty in the community alongside other volunteers is the right thing to do. That taking time to meet others at the local coffee shop and catch the buzz in town is necessary to keep up with what’s going on in the community.
To put it plainly, I have small feet and couldn’t possibly fill the shoes of the greats who came before me. But, I do know this: I will hit the pavement with all I have in me. Out of love and respect for those who came before, those who made this paper so great.
So, Lee’s Summit, as a determined young lady, I am ready to stay committed to this community and do my part, along with the other staff members, to keep The Journal running at a high standard, just as my mentor would want me to.
Ashlee Hendrix is the Lead Designer for The Lees Summit Journal.