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Bob Wooten: It's not so easy to say goodbye


No one likes long good-byes, and I'll try not to wear you out with this one.

Coming straight to the point, this is my last column as managing editor of The Northern Virginia Daily.

Today marks a change of ownership for the newspaper, the first in its 80-year history. Understandably, it also will be a changing of the guard for this proud institution, which is widely regarded as Virginia's best small daily newspaper.

For some of us, it means moving on to new challenges.

Thoughts about the future have been much on our minds in recent days, but I've also found myself reflecting on my time with the Daily. Simply said, my 12 years here have been the most rewarding in my long career in the newspaper business.

There have been many stops along the way since I got my first newspaper job at the tender age of 16, doing the heavy lifting in the mailroom of my hometown weekly. At first, it was just a way to make a buck after school. Well, come to think of it, it was a way to make $1.60 an hour after school.

But before long, I had a chance to do some high school sports coverage, and I was hooked. Since then, I've never been able to shake the itch to work with paper, ink and words.

After studying journalism at James Madison, my road led through newsrooms in Luray; Natchez, Miss.; Martinsburg, W.Va.; and Hagerstown, Md., before being offered an opportunity here in Strasburg.

I will always be grateful to our editor, John Horan, and our retiring owners, Pat and Dee Keister, for welcoming me into the Daily family. I don't use the term lightly: Working here has always felt like being part of a huge extended family. The employees care about each other as much as the work they do, and the result has been a newspaper we all take pride in. In fact, it's a newspaper the entire community can be proud of.

For an "old school" journalist, as I'm often described, I'm also grateful for the simple, straightforward expectations my bosses have always had for our newsroom -- that we produce the best news report possible every day given our available resources, that we keep our reporting honest and fair, and that we strive to inform, enlighten and entertain our readers.

We've had no whipping boys and no sacred cows. It's the way journalism is supposed to work, and I believe the proof shows up each morning on your doorstep and newsstand.
The team of talented, dedicated professionals I've had the honor to work with made that possible.

Finally, of all the many joys I will look back on, sharing Saturday mornings with you through "Top of the Morning" may be the one I cherish most. When I started the column several years ago, I said it would cover the waterfront: The world at large, the times we live in, our life here in the valley. At the time, I promised I'd try to bring something
worthwhile to the table every week. I've given it my best shot.

And with that, I retire the column. The valley is still my home, though, and I have no doubt we'll still run into each other from time to time, maybe even on Saturday mornings.




7 Comments



Such a shame that another news source will be destroyed by the owners of the Journal News and their recent onslaught of liberalism/progressiveness.

Bob -
I was just a kid, months removed from college, when I sat in your office and interviewed for a job. It was hot. Really hot. Sweat ran down the neck of my shirt and I hoped, prayed, that my clips were strong enough, that my meager experience to that point would impress you enough to get the job. It was my first real job. My first time away from home. I began three weeks before September 11 and those heady days of turmoil that followed. Anthrax. Tax hikes. War. There was a scandal involving a sports writer. And yet, every day, you were there. Steady and calm. Respite in the storm. I've done a lot in the decade since I left. Gotten married. Had three children. Covered big stories, written for magazines, two books, a successful website. And yet, when someone asks me what my favorite experience has been professionally, it was working for you. Cramped in that tiny Winchester office. Driving down to Strasburg for the Sunday shift. Calling in my stories and learning as I went. You're a great journalist, a great editor and a great mentor. I'm sad to see the Daily will lose you, but I hope you know what a gift you've been to so many people like me.
Thanks... for everything.
Craig Heimbuch

Though we never met in person, I feel as if we became old friends, and shared many Saturday mornings together, via your column.

As a retired journalist, I read enough through the lines over the past 12 years to know that I like you and would have enjoyed working for you and with you.

The excellent reporting, "family feel" and home-town pride are all elements that were upheld while you were at the helm. For that, this reader is grateful.

We can certainly hold out hope for more of the same in the future.

Best of luck to you...

Oh.......my........gawd..........

Did Henny Penny just predict the sky will fall? What's next? Cats and dogs playing together? Doomed. We're all doomed I tells ya. Who will save us now? Worry.......worry.... worry.... gloom.... gloom.... gloom... Open the pod bay doors, HAL. We got ourselves some serious geopolitical problems here. Somebody is gonna get their hair all mussed up. Worse yet, panties are being bunched even as we speak. Let's blame it all on those rascally liberals. Yeah, that's the ticket.....

Hey Bob, watch out for that door......


Maybe we can finally get some positive coverage for Warren County and Front Royal

I too am sorry to see Mr. Wooten's column close but I must disagree with your assessment that there has been an "onslaught" of liberalism. I feel quite the opposite. The NVD has consistently leaned left in several areas.

Sorry to see you go (I'm sure not that you want to)!!! I wish you the best in your future endeavors!!



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