Journalist bids farewell to newspaper

Michele Vowell

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” — Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss books have educated me about different ways to look at life. As an adult, this quote seems to depict exactly how I feel about my next career move.

After more than 23 years working at the Kentucky New Era and its associate newspapers, the Cadiz Record and the Fort Campbell Courier, I’m saying farewell to the business.

Ever since I was a child, I have loved to write. Photography has always been a close second. Fortunately, I found a career in journalism that fulfilled both of these passions.

After growing up in Owensboro, I attended Murray State University and spent the better part of my junior and senior years at the Murray State News office in Wilson Hall developing my craft. I graduated from MSU with a Bachelor of Science in print journalism and set out to conquer the world of newspapers.

I started seriously honing my reporting skills just up the road at The Crittenden Press in Marion before moving to Hopkinsville to become the Kentucky New Era features editor.

Who knew that in this small Kentucky community I would have the privilege to write about and photograph so many interesting and fascinating people, places and topics.

With Fort Campbell just down the road, I have written quite the collection of articles about our men and women in uniform and even had the privilege to deploy with a Department of Defense media pool to cover the 101st Airborne Division’s mission in Kosovo in 2001. In fact, I was still deployed when terrorists attacked the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001.

The stories and photographs I produced during this time and my subsequent journey home were uniquely framed with a much different perspective and is a time I often reflect upon to this day.

I believe it is this perspective which led me to accepting a managing editor position at the Fort Campbell Courier, which, at that time, was published by The Kentucky New Era.

During my time at Fort Campbell, I came to know, trust and admire the many men and women who serve our country. I have covered presidents and dignitaries who visited the high-profile military installation and, perhaps more importantly, shared the stories of the soldiers and their families who are impacted by deployments to war zones or on humanitarian missions.

On a lighter note, my time at the Kentucky New Era has yielded bylines on stories about the Little Green Men of Kelly and clairvoyant Edgar Cayce. Stories included features about festivals and films centered on these phenomena, which Hopkinsville has embraced for more than 50 years.

I have written about and photographed sporting events and activities from archery to 5Ks to rodeo pole bending. Successfully capturing the athletes in action is a challenge in situational awareness and skill. Hats off to those who tackle that beat every day.

In this community of diversity, I’ve been able to write about local families, food, finance and fellowships of farms, restaurants, businesses and churches.

From holidays to hospice, tornadoes to the Trail of Tears and cancer to COVID-19, this journalist has covered most everything Christian, Todd and Trigg counties have to offer. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have shared these stories with you. They are not my stories, they are our stories and reflect a bright and vibrant community I am proud to call home.

Although I will no longer be the features editor at the New Era and managing editor at the Cadiz Record, I hope you continue to join me in reading the articles in each publication written by the next generation of journalists.

So, with Dr. Seuss’ wise words in mind, I want everyone to know it’s been a pleasure to write about and photograph local news, features and occasionally sports for the majority of my career.

As I move forward, I’ll always look back on my newspaper memories, the people I’ve met and the places I’ve been — and smile.

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