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A journey home, and the road ahead


Of all the holidays on the yearly calendar, Thanksgiving is the sacred occasion for members of my family.

Sure, we try to get together on Christmas and Easter as well as other special dates. But with seven adult siblings, two of whom have grown children of their own, getting every single one of us together on every single holiday is not always possible.

Thanksgiving, however, has always been the highest priority for us to share each other’s company. My mother finds this the most family-oriented holiday there is, so as a nod to her we do whatever is necessary to be in one spot.

We grew up in the Chicago area, and most of us didn’t stray too far. Two of my sisters live in Wisconsin, but this hasn’t derailed anyone’s plans as we now travel to the home of one of my sisters (Fontana, Wis., right next door to Lake Geneva) for Thanksgiving.

My decision earlier this year to move to Northern New York, though, has changed this dynamic. Would I be able to get back home in time for Thanksgiving? Living at least 12 hours away from my family by car doesn’t make this a simple venture.

When I accepted the position of editorial page editor for the Watertown Daily Times, I was delighted to learn that Watertown International Airport offered direct, round-trip flights every day between Chicago and Dexter. It made my choice to relocate to the north country all that much easier.

For many people living in and near Watertown, flying to O’Hare International Airport is a terrific way to connect to flights taking them to points north, south and west. But for me, O’Hare is the gateway to my childhood home; it’s the final leg of the journey.

What also made my decision to move here so rewarding was to be offered a great job at a wonderful company. I love the Chicago area and have lived there my whole life (except for the years that I attended college). So packing up and moving halfway across the country wasn’t without its difficulties.

But as a career journalist, I knew a great opportunity when I saw one. Chicago has long been a legendary newspaper town, but the news business has fallen on hard times there. This isn’t exclusive to the Windy City, as newsrooms throughout the United States have confronted challenges of shrinking audiences and dwindling revenues.

This breaks my heart as so many exceptional journalists I know have had their lives adversely impacted by circumstances out of their control. Seeing what’s happening at some media outlets in the Chicago area is like watching an industry slowly implode. The people whose lives are hurt the most don’t deserve their fate, but there’s nothing any of us can do.

And it’s not as if the Times hasn’t faced its own challenges. But I’ve found it to be a vibrant newspaper with very engaged readers and outstanding resources. If I was going to continue my profession as a newspaperman, this was definitely the place I wanted to be.

So as we approach Thanksgiving, I feel incredibly grateful that members of the Johnson family took a chance on me and offered me this job. I’ve also appreciated all the former and current staff members who helped bring me on board, trained me and have guided me ever since.

In addition, it’s been wonderful interacting with the many people who make the Times a part of their daily lives. For it is all of you who make this newspaper such an interesting place to work.

Provided the weather plays nice, I’ll be traveling back to the Chicago area to spend the Thanksgiving weekend with my family. It will be wonderful to be back home for a short time and catch up with loved ones and friends.

As we move through the holidays and into the new year, I’m looking forward to getting to know even more people in Northern New York. It’s been an exciting and fulfilling couple of months engaging with so many people through our editorial page.

And with a family visit just a plane flight away, there’s no reason to believe this won’t continue for years to come. Happy Thanksgiving!

Jerry Moore is the editorial page editor for the Watertown Daily Times. Readers may call him at 315-661-2369 or send emails to

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