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My goodbye party at the White Mountain Independent was Friday, June 30, 2017. It was bittersweet, but to coin a popular phrase, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

But...my October 15, 2018 hello party is purely sweet because I did a Career U-Turn, and I am reclaiming my position as a reporter with WMI.

Following is a chronology of the events to WMI the first time, my departures, and now the return.

On November 3, 2014, I slid into the reporter’s chair at the White Mountain Independent, being given the privilege of covering the communities of Snowflake and Taylor, Navajo County Government, and Northland Pioneer College. The day that Publisher Brian Kramer hired me, he said, “I want you to write like you talk,” to which I replied, “Do you have enough room?”

It wasn’t long after I started working there that I was given a bi-monthly feature called “Movers & Shapers,” the title coined by our Advertising Manger Wiley Acheson. For those that followed the column, you know that I actually did write like I talk. My surprise was they gave me enough room to do that. Movers & Shapers ran for 15 months and I was trusted to tell the story of White Mountain people whose actions have shaped our community. I loved that column because I love promoting people. Feature writing is certainly something I have enjoyed. The day came, however, when I had to do some real investigative reporting. The first big story I broke later won me third place in that category in the Arizona Newspaper Association’s annual recognition awards. After that, it seemed I was destined to find those stories that made news. The part I disliked about those kind of stories is that because the written word never goes away, people often blame the messenger. I only reported the facts, but it is human nature for people to blame somebody, and I discovered, to my dismay, that it is most often the reporter who gets blamed.

In April 2016 due to the forward thinking of our publisher, myself and Videographer Laura Lollman began preparing to do our tri-weekly video news broadcast for our website. I became the news writer and the news anchor for the broadcasts which have now been airing for over a year. I did my best to ensure that each area of our Mountain received coverage, and even added a bit of good news so people would know what a great place we live in.

When I did my last Movers & Shapers column, I began the article by writing “There is a quote from the movie “Uptown Girls” which is so apropos for this article: “Every story has an end, but in life, every ending is just a new beginning.”

I have resurrected that quote because my end at the paper is a new beginning for me. I was the chamber director for Show Low from 2002 to 2007, a radio talk show host for 16 years, and a local TV host for 11 years and a newspaper report/anchor for nearly three years. The position I have accepted is chamber, radio, television and newspaper all rolled into one – allowing me to use all of my skills to benefit a different industry – I will be the Communications Specialist at Navopache Electric Co-Op, Inc. in Lakeside.

Farewell is a term generally used when you are not going to see someone for a long time, or perhaps never hear from them again, so to my colleagues at The Independent, and to you the readers, I only say goodbye, because WHAT I BELIEVE is that I will be seeing you again, around town, and… in the news.

And, in the news it is - I am back! After 17 months away from The White Mountain Independent, I realized how much I missed reporting and interviewing. Although the opportunity I took added to my life experience, my heart is in journalism. I do not regret my prior decision to leave for what seemed to be the perfect job for me, but I applaud myself for having the courage to recognize my passion and to return to it. Christian Writer Barbara Johnson was famous for saying, "If you find yourself going in the wrong direction, God allows U-Turns."

I made the U-Turn and I truly will see you around town covering the news!

You are the fusion of Lois Lane, keen reporter, and Oprah, who brings the best out in others. I so hope you will pursue your natural and refined talents. The world appreciates Great, Good News! - Sharyn Jordan

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