Seven years ago, I walked into the front doors of the Log Cabin Democrat, which was then located in the federal building next to the downtown post office.
I entered hoping to secure an internship and possibly future employment at the Log Cabin to help finish up my degree at UCA.
I met with then vice president of audience Kelly Sublett and sports editor David McCollum about an internship, and it obviously worked out.
However, since there aren’t many sports to cover in the summer, they asked if I would write as a freelancer and then start my internship in the fall when football began.
I agreed and had my first story, which I will say, is not good, published on June 18, 2015.
Ironically, seven years to that day, this is my final column that will be published by me as a full-time employee of the Log Cabin Democrat.
In my seven years writing for this publication, I’ve seen the staff go from upward of 30 people down to a staff of seven.
Several coworkers have come and gone. I’ve been a part of three parent companies. I’ve had nine publishers, and I’ve worked at three different locations.
This is just the changing of the industry. As technology has grown, newspapers are getting more scarce and staff have been reduced.
Luckily, I’ve been able to write in different capacities for this newspaper for the past seven years, apart from a furlough in the middle months of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I did secure that internship and it scored me a position as a general assignment reporter where I would write about anything that needed to be written about: sports, news, education, government, crime. I’ve done it all at this point, but my real passion has been sports.
That’s what I realized in a class while attending UCA. I could get paid to write about something I love, and that’s exactly what I did for seven years.
Longtime Log Cabin sports editor David McCollum helped me in my first couple years in covering sports for this area, but the reins were thrust upon me when McCollum unfortunately passed in 2018.
There have absolutely been times where I have loved every minute of doing this job. I get to watch and write about sports. I get to speak with coaches and athletes.
I get to tell their stories. I’ve gotten to meet some great people in this position, and I’m extremely grateful for that.
But, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t experience burn out at times during these seven years.
Because there are 12 schools in our coverage area that play numerous sports at one time, I would be stretched quite a bit on how to cover these things.
With limited resources, time and the physical impossibility to be at multiple places at once, I couldn’t get everything covered that I wanted to. That has been stressful, which has only heightened when people email or call in upset because I didn’t cover something they wanted me to cover.
I understand the sentiment. I do, and I get this is the nature of the beast, especially in recent years where people have declared that anything put in a newspaper or produced by a media outlet is “fake news.”
Apart from columns, which are supposed to be from an opinionated point of view, I wholeheartedly believe the Log Cabin has remained objective where possible.
At the end of the day, if I were to be asked if I think I did a good job, I would say “yes” every time.
I’ve poured numerous hours into this position, while working odd hours and interacting with people in another state in order to produce the sports section.
Though our team has changed over the years, I’ve enjoyed the team I’ve been able to work with.
Coworkers have become lifelong friends as have some people I’ve met throughout this journey.
There are many people I want to thank for helping me during my time in getting stories out or helping me become a better reporter.
Of course, Sublett and McCollum for giving me a chance when I was in college.
Jeanette Stewart for sticking it out with me for seven years and being someone to joke with or have conversations every single day.
David Keith and Donna Stephens for teaching me how to write for newspapers in college.
Steve East for answering any question I had about UCA athletics. The same goes for Erik Holth at CBC and Nicholas Petrone at Hendrix.
Buck Buchanan for being a joy to talk with not only about Hendrix football, but the goings on in life.
David Grimes for continuing to contribute after David McCollum had passed, as well as helping me with stories whenever it was needed.
There are many more to thank, and I apologize if I didn’t mention your name. You’re just as important as these people.
A lot has changed in my seven years at the Log Cabin.
I graduated from UCA, I got married, we bought our first new car, we bought our first house, traveled abroad and had a baby.
Which leads me to why I’m ultimately departing the Log Cabin.
Though I’ve loved watching, reporting and writing about sports, the time has come for me to have a more stable work schedule for my family.
I mean this in the best way possible, but I’ve told myself before that when my wife and I started having kids, I wanted to be able to watch our kids play sports instead of writing about someone else’s kid.
I want to go to and enjoy sporting events with my family as a fan.
I look forward to continuing to see what’s going on in Faulkner County athletics at a distance.
With that, I’m saying my goodbye to the Log Cabin Democrat.
Andy Robertson is the sports editor of the Log Cabin Democrat and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.