Former reporter thanks editor for contributions to newspaper, community
July 23, 2009
I was very disappointed – and a bit angry – when I read through Publisher Kim Burner’s “goodbye” column to Autumn Phillips in the Monday, July 20th edition of the Sky Hi Daily News.
Here is what Kim had to say about Autumn’s departure from the paper:
“Autumn will be exchanging Grand County winters for hot (extremely hot) summers. When we start our cars in the early mornings to warm, she’ll be starting hers to cool off. I think we get the better end of that deal. At least we can put on another sweater or add another log to the fire to warm up. She’s stuck with the humidity.”
That’s it. There was no thank you, no warm farewell. No mention of Autumn’s hard work completely revamping a newspaper and its Web site over the past two years. Wow Kim, as publisher of the paper, I expected a bit more from you. Then again, maybe I didn’t. Perhaps the cold weather up here has given you a chilly disposition. The column was insulting, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought so.
Autumn was editor for the Sky Hi for two years and helped completely revamp four weekly newspapers into one daily paper – no small feat in a county where so many of its residents resisted the change. And all she gets in her goodbye column from Kim is a dumb comment about the humidity in Texas?
Since I was a reporter for the Sky Hi when Autumn first became editor, I’ve gotten to know her very well over the past two years and consider her a good friend. For those who don’t know yet, Autumn is moving to Texas in August where she’ll be editor of a newspaper in New Braunfels. I will miss her, but I wish her all the best.
When Autumn started at the paper, she was a breath of fresh air for all of us. My coworkers and I were overwhelmed with all the sudden changes: New company, new rules, new boss, new format. There were a lot of things going on all at once, but Autumn always managed to smile through it, and reassured us that things would be OK. (She jokingly referred to us as her little chickens.)
I was immediately impressed with this tiny, 5’1″ ball of energy who was ready to take on a new editor position in a town she knew nothing about and a staff she just met. She dove right in, asking for advice from her staff and readers, attending community functions to put a face to the paper. She was confident – but not overly-so, and she worked very hard, encouraging new ideas and getting us excited about writing. She quickly learned how opposed to change some people here are, but she also learned to roll with the punches. She always tried to be fair and reasonable (no matter how unreasonable the person on the other line was getting). No matter what fell apart around us (and so much did), Autumn managed to be the glue in that office when no one else was willing to do so.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who will miss Autumn at the paper – she supported so many local organizations and contributed many positive things to our community. I’m happy to hear Drew Munro will be editor of the paper – he will make an excellent editor. But I think Autumn has done enough for this community and the Sky Hi Daily News to deserve more recognition than a flippant comment about the weather in Texas.