KONZ: Why I made the move to WDRB - WDRB 41 Louisville News

KONZ: Why I made the move to WDRB

Posted: Updated: Jul 07, 2014 02:54 PM
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- "I've been lucky. Opportunities don't often come along. So, when they do, you have to grab them" - Audrey Hepburn

Today, after 13 years in the newspaper business, I am grabbing onto an opportunity I believe will bring happiness, professional growth and allow me to continue serving my readers -- just in a different way.

As of today, I no longer work for The Courier-Journal.

I have read and re-read that sentence, but it's still hard for me to imagine my life outside of the newspaper business -- particularly since I have dedicated so much effort and spent such little time doing anything else.

But in the end, that is exactly what helped me reach my decision.

Today, I start a new chapter in my professional life -- a chapter I am very excited about. I am joining the WDRB team as a reporter. And the best thing about it is that I will be doing the same thing for them as I have done since transferring to Louisville in 2007 -- I will be covering Jefferson County Public Schools and writing about education issues, as well as working on other stories that interest me.

Coming to a decision this big wasn't easy. Consider my parents' reaction when I informed them last week:

"What do you mean you are leaving the newspaper? You've always wanted to write for the newspaper, ever since you were a little girl. It was your dream job."

My parents are right. I have wanted to write for a newspaper since I was very young, and getting my first newspaper job at the age of 23 at the Hattiesburg (Miss.) American and subsequently working for the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, The Courier-Journal and as a correspondent for USA TODAY has been a dream come true. Thirteen years later, I can say that I've worked with some of the best journalists in Mississippi, Alabama and Kentucky.

However, the newspaper world I entered over a decade ago is drastically different from the one that exists today. And the world that exists now is scary for anyone, let alone a single mother whose only backup plan if she were to get laid off is to wait tables for a living.

I think part of my parents' shock came from the fact that I have spared them the agonizing details -- what it was like to sit through rounds of furloughs, layoffs and buyouts -- that have consumed the newspaper business here and across the country over the past few years. Seeing the empty desks of my departed colleagues was a constant reminder of what was lost.

I guess it's sort of like a marriage or a relationship of some sort -- you go into it fully intending to spend the rest of your life trying to make it work. You share your hopes and dreams and have a lot of laughs...but then somewhere along the road, things change and the person/place you committed to isn't the same person/place. Instead of laughter, you are shedding lots of tears. And the stress of worrying about what will happen next becomes too much to handle.

As much as I love the newspaper business and want to see it survive, I also have to think about what is best for my family.

Now, something amazing has happened. I was given an opportunity to work in an environment that places a huge value on the happiness of its employees.

WDRB has set a course that includes a commitment to covering Louisville and they are doing it by adding staff rather than having seemingly endless waves of layoffs, restructurings or reorganizations.

As I mentioned earlier, I will be doing the same thing at WDRB that I have done for the past 7.5 years at the newspaper. I will visit schools and live-tweet school board meetings (my Twitter account - @tkonz will remain the same) and other events. I will still write about stories that matter to this community and answer the questions of my readers. That's important to me.

All of my stories will still be found on the internet (at www.wdrb.com) and in fact, they will all be free (no pay wall) -- the only difference is that they will no longer appear in print. In all honesty, I think that will be the hardest part for me since newspapers have been in my blood for so long.

But at the same time, I am excited. I'm looking forward to learning new skills and meeting new people. I am excited to be reunited with my former C-J colleagues Rick Bozich, Eric Crawford, Jason Riley, Marcus Green and Chris Otts. I am also very excited to work alongside all of the other talented journalists at WDRB.

And I am excited about the opportunity to work for a company that has been voted one of the best places to work in Kentucky and in a newsroom that has continued to grow while others have gotten leaner.

As Crawford pointed out in a column two years ago, the leadership at WDRB has made a bold statement about where they want their organization to go.

I am honored and excited to be part of this new journey and I hope that all of you, my readers, will come along for the ride.

Who knows, you may even see this former newspaper girl on TV. Stay tuned.

(Questions: You can email me at tkonz@wdrb.com or contact me @tkonz on Twitter)

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