What ‘Matt’ers: Goodnight, sweetheart, well, it’s time to go

‘The date was Feb. 13, 2019, and our former editor Phil Custodio called to offer me a job as a reporter with the Clarkston News.
I happily accepted.
Five years later to the day, Feb. 13, 2024, I was offered another job and after accepting, let my bosses know that I had accepted a new position.
Yes, it’s bittersweet because I have grown to embrace the Clarkston community and all that it stands for. It’s been a blast these past five years, and while it’s impossible to name everyone I have met and worked with, just know that if you are reading this, you are supporting community journalism, and that’s what matters the most.
I was a reporter with the paper for a little more than a year when we shut down for a couple weeks due to COVID. I will never forget the date (March 13, 2020) when our former publisher Jim Sherman, Jr., walked into our office at the corner of Main and Washington streets and told us to work from home.
Then Phil left to move closer to family in Alabama, and I was promoted to editor.
I always thought that was crazy as many people lost their jobs during COVID, and here I was getting a promotion.
For that first year or so, we had restrictions in place and covering the news was done from afar mostly, but we were able to cover school events, go to community events, and stuff like that.
Taking over as editor was a challenge at first, and I credit Wendi Price for talking me down when the design program we had then, PageMaker, was causing my blood pressure to skyrocket. I eventually learned the program and my blood pressure came down to normal levels.
Almost two years ago, we were told of a mandatory company-wide meeting at our Oxford office. That was when we were informed that the Sherman’s had sold to the View Newspaper Group.
The transition was seamless, and the new design program, InDesign, was easy to start using as it was basically an upgraded, shinier version of PageMaker. My blood pressure stayed stable, for the most part.
I have always believed that change can be a good thing. These past two years have shown that while not everything will stay the same forever, a new direction can also mean a more positive direction and a new way to keep bringing you the news and features you have grown accustomed to reading in these pages.
That won’t change, I assure you that much.
And that brings us to now.
Over the years, I have always enjoyed going to and covering the Holiday Lights Parades, Clarkston Christmas Markets, the 4th of July parades, school parties, SCAMP Walk and Roll, Concerts in the Park, WinterFest, Independence Fest, OptiFest, Art in the Village, Clarkston High School Commencement at Pine Knob, all the CHS senior events in May, Shoes for Kids, Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon cuttings, Clarkston Community Awards, all the fun times at Depot Park, first days of school and last days of school, and many more that I know I am forgetting.
I also made a ton of friends and new colleagues along the way.
These five years have helped me grow professionally and emotionally. You don’t realize it at the time, but it’s true. The people you meet, the people you get to know, it’s all worth it. You’re never too old to stop learning.
Maybe the work wasn’t always glorious or the most fun, but we always made our deadlines and did what we do best, and that’s report the news. It was always rewarding to me when I would meet someone at an event and they would tell me what the Clarkston News means to the community. The paper has been around 95 years. That’s incredible for me to think about.
And the paper and all others in the View Newspaper Group certainly show no signs of slowing down, and the support of our readers and business partners goes a long way.
With Rick Burrough and Wes Smith at the helm, the paper has a renewed sense of structure and optimism. I’ve seen that first hand.
I was asked recently what I like most about the paper, and my response was that each and every day is different.
No one day is the same. You never get stagnant in this line of work, at least, you shouldn’t, and with each new day brings a new story to tell, a new meeting to cover, a new accomplishment from a local student, a new idea for a column, you name it.
And while not all stories are 100% positive, as journalists, sometimes we have to shine that light on the dark areas of the news. It comes with the territory.
As long as we report the facts and not take sides, it’s up to our readers to decide their take on a certain subject. That will no doubt continue as we move forward.
You know, we don’t get into this business to become millionaires. Being in this line of work is a calling, and one that we are all passionate about.
It also helps to have a supportive family that knows this job is far from a 9 to 5 day. My family knows that and has always had my back.
Please keep supporting community journalism and letting our new editor know not only when a story should be praised, but also when we can be better. That’s a goal we all have, too, and that’s to always keep improving and growing. A well-rounded journalist appreciates constructive criticism as much a pat on the back.
I wish Clarkston all the best and plan to follow news of this community through The Clarkston News. We have a fantastic staff in place, and I have no doubt that they will continue to carry on the 95-year tradition of delivering the best in local news, information and high school sports coverage to our readers.
Take care, everyone, and have a great rest of 2024!
Go Wolves!
Thank you, Clarkston!

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