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A message from the editor-in-chief

  • JOAN LIVINGSTON



Editor-in-Chief
Monday, October 11, 2021

I want to share the news that I will be retiring from journalism, which means leaving my position as Pioneer Valley editor-in-chief.

My last day will be Jan. 7, which I feel will provide sufficient time for the newspapers’ management to conduct a search for my replacement.

In late 2020, when I was asked to expand my role overseeing news coverage for the Greenfield Recorder and Athol Daily News to include the Daily Hampshire Gazette, I said I would do it for one year.

My hope was that I would help bring stability to the newspapers after what was unarguably a tough year due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which included the loss of jobs for both newsrooms and the closure of the printing press in Northampton.

Actually, this will be the second time I retire from the news business.

I did so in New Mexico, where I worked at The Taos News for 10 years, nearly all of them as editor-in-chief. When I left, I taught creative writing to a fourth-grade class, helped adults complete their HiSET (GED) and began writing a mystery series — number five will be released early next year.

My husband, Hank, and I returned to western Massachusetts four years ago, settling in Shelburne Falls. One day in December 2018 I saw a classified ad in the Recorder for the editor’s position. I applied, believing I had something to offer the newspaper, and fortunately, Aaron Julien, who was the publisher then, agreed.

I have felt honored to lead news coverage for Franklin County and the North Quabbin. And, it was a homecoming for me at the Gazette, where I started 36 years ago as the Worthington correspondent, before becoming a full-time reporter, columnist and then editor. I left to move to New Mexico in 2006.

As editor-in-chief, I divide my time between the newsrooms in Greenfield and Northampton.

My last day is more than three months away. I look ahead to what I will miss, certainly being immersed in the news of our large coverage area and engaging with readers. I will also miss the comradery of the hard-working journalists in our newsrooms and my colleagues in the papers’ other departments.

However, I will gladly give up deadlines and the responsibilities that come with this role.

So, what are my plans after I leave? Spending more time with my large family and travel are priorities. I will be able to concentrate on my own writing. And who knows what interesting opportunities might present themselves. You can also expect to see my writing continue in our Pioneer Valley newspapers where I will have a regular column.