For everything, there is a season.

There is a time to be born and a time to die. A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. I doubt that King Solomon was foreshadowing the coronavirus pandemic in Ecclesiastes 3, but his point stands.

As I recently studied this passage of scripture, I came to realize that a season in my own life is coming to a close. It is time for a change. As such, I am resigning from my role as publisher of the Kentucky New Era and several other community newspapers in Western Kentucky at the end of this month.

I have been fortunate to work with and lead incredible teams of journalists, marketing professionals, business and administration teams, content delivery, production and distribution personnel. We’ve put out excellent products together and made a positive impact in the communities that we serve. We even picked up a few accolades along the way.

I have enjoyed every minute of my time leading this team of extraordinary people committed to the cause of community journalism. I am proud of the work we’ve done and that they continue to do.

Hopkinsville is lucky to have such a talented and committed team at its newspaper.

Over the last several weeks I’ve been inspired as I’ve watched our teams produce excellent work despite sparse resources and difficult restrictions due to the effects of COVID-19. Your friends and neighbors at the New Era have worked with resolve and an intense focus to serve the community that we all love.

I know that I made the correct decision in taking on this role in December 2018 when joined the team and moved back home to Kentucky. It is clear to me that this opportunity was what I needed to bring me home to my family and to teach me some very important lessons about business, life and myself.

The last 18 months have given me an education in two very important topics — delegation and humility. Those lessons were confirmed and magnified over the last few weeks.

I’ve never had to trust my team more than I have since mid-March when we all began working remotely. We assigned tasks and empowered our people. In the face of adversity and with little guidance our team has produced some of its best work.

This incredible group of people has delivered in a big way and I am incredibly proud of everyone who has been a part of that.

I’ve also learned that far too often I’ve been assigned credit for the good work of the people around me.

Earlier this spring I was honored to be named to Editor & Publisher magazine’s annual list of the top 25 media professionals in the country under the age of 35. It is both exciting and gratifying to be recognized for my work — but the truth of the matter is that any success of mine would not have been possible without the team of people around me.

I am proud of all that we have accomplished in such a short time in spite of extenuating circumstances such as a global pandemic. Our vision has always been to connect people with information, ideas and each other so that they can make a difference in their community. This team has done that and continues to each day.

My chosen profession has been good to me. I’ve been fortunate to provide for my family while also enjoying some of the most unique experiences imaginable.

I’ve interviewed presidents, rock stars and cold-blooded killers. I’ve traveled the country speaking to and with other professionals in the field, and published reporting and columns that led to real change in communities in Indiana, Texas, Alabama and Kentucky.

It shouldn’t be possible to have packed the amount of experience and fun I’ve had into a decade in this business, but it is.

President John F. Kennedy said, “change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

I am not entirely certain what my future holds. But what I know is that my presence in this role was right for a season, and with several projects completed and accomplishments achieved it is time for someone else to carry this team further than I ever could have.

Mark Twain is credited with saying, “the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

I believe there is an opportunity coming for me to put my background and experiences to work in a meaningful way that answers the “why” question. It would be selfish of me to rest on my laurels until I figure it out, and I would be doing my team a disservice in the meantime.

Twain also said, “twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover.”

So that is what I am doing. Some lucky newsperson will soon fill this role that I’ve been so fortunate to experience for the last year and a half. In the meantime, I am going to take a few weeks and sail away from safe harbor to discover my why and reconnect with my family.

Thank you for your support of your community newspaper. Thank you for reading and thank you for allowing me to be but a small part of this chapter in the story of the institution.

Brandon Cox is the publisher of the Kentucky New Era, Oak Grove Eagle Post and Cadiz Record in Christian and Trigg Counties. He also manages the newspapers in Madisonville, Dawson Springs, Providence, Russellville and Franklin. He can be reached by email to Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonJCox.

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