The most difficult professional decision of my life
By Adam Hocking
Words usually come easy for me. I sit down at my laptop, and my fingers move in synchronicity with my thoughts. This letter to readers, however, is different.
It is impossible for me to express how hard the decision to leave Hub City Times has been. It is equally difficult to encapsulate how much I have loved reporting for this paper and serving our readers.
To get the main point out of the way, let me say I have accepted a position in Marshfield Clinic’s communications and public relations department. My replacement was hired just this week, and it is a name that fans of Hub City Times already know and love. Kris Leonhardt, who has been our brilliant weekly history columnist, will take over my position.
Kris and her husband, Jim, are the former co-owners of Rose Bowl Lanes and have been active members of the Marshfield community for the past 20 years. Kris has been a staff writer and freelancer for multiple local, state, and trade publications, and her experience will serve her well.
I could not be more thrilled that I will be passing on something I have loved to a person who so clearly demonstrates the skill, work ethic, and character I was hoping for in a replacement. I have no doubt she will continue to make Hub City Times the best source for local news. I also have no doubt that her extraordinary talents as a writer and her fresh perspective will elevate Hub City Times to new heights.
Readers of Hub City Times, I believe, will embrace Kris as they did me, and for that I thank you all in advance. To put it simply, readers, you are in excellent hands.
My last day will be July 29. Next week’s paper will be my last.
How I arrived at the decision to leave what has been my passion, working for the Hub City Times, was not via some precise calculus or tidy pro/con list. I tried to break the decision down that way, but it was too inexact. Some pros or cons are worth more than others, and there was no clear-cut or obvious choice to stay or go. Instead, I decided to pick one vantage point to filter my decision making process through: my family.
It is cliché, I know, to say that my new position is the best decision for my family, but that does not make the statement any less true. In the news business, hours are odd, many times involving nights and weekends with the reality of perpetually being on call. A more standard work schedule will allow me to be home with my family more often and to be more present when I am there.
Hub City Times, I also believe, is ready for a new voice.
Additionally, I felt that I wanted a new challenge. It is time to try something new. I could not be more excited to join a world-class organization like Marshfield Clinic with a rich history and tradition of excellence.
There is nothing I am more proud of than what the Hub City Times has evolved into. Daily we receive compliments on our hyper-local coverage. We truly view what we do at Hub City Times as a public service.
This paper has allowed me to develop strong relationships with people in all parts of the community. It has also unequivocally been the greatest professional learning experience of my life. I have had more honest fun and experienced more joy through this publication than in any other professional position I have held.
The adrenaline of breaking a story, the satisfaction of taking a magnifying glass to important local issues, the chance to intimately understand how a city operates, these are things I will never be able to replace. Nor will I be able to replace the relationship that has been forged between our publication and readers.
I want to thank our parent company, Multi Media Channels, and its owners, the Wood family. Their vision of a strictly local news source has made for successful papers not just in Marshfield but also in Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, Merrill, Waupaca, and many other markets. They took a chance on me when I had little experience, and I hope I have validated that decision.
I also have to thank Kathy Banks, who was my boss for my first year or so with the paper. She believed in me when I doubted myself, and her firm but nurturing guidance gave me the confidence that I could run a newspaper.
Our great columnists who have contributed to our paper throughout our first two years also deserve high praise. I thank them for helping me create a well-rounded, interesting paper each week.
My assistant editor, Eric LeJeune, I can never thank enough. He relocated from the Twin Cities to help this paper thrive. He is the silent hand behind Hub City Times, guiding it each week. Every decision I make, whether minor or significant, I filter through Eric’s wisdom. His level head, attention to detail, work ethic, skill as a copy editor, and willingness to perform an ever-growing list of administrative duties has allowed me to focus on being a reporter. Without Eric, there simply is no Hub City Times, and he will remain with the paper, guiding it adeptly through this transition.
Finally, I want to thank you, the reader, from the bottom of my heart. You easily could have written us off simply because we were new to the local news scene, but you did the opposite. You embraced us and our mission. For that, I will never be able to thank you enough.
Marshfield was home to me for the first 18 years of my life, and it is home to me now. I left the Twin Cities to come back to Marshfield a little more than two years ago. Working for the Hub City Times has allowed me to see a place I thought I knew inside and out in a totally different way. I think that is rare.
I have gotten to know my hometown and thus my roots even more intimately through my work with Hub City Times. There could be no greater gift.
I love Marshfield. It is who I am at my core. I feel fortunate to be from Marshfield and live in Marshfield because of the smart, dedicated, selfless, philanthropic, and proud people that live here.
I thank our readers and the citizens of Marshfield for making this city the best place to call home. I hope my work with the paper has, in some small way, paid back a portion of the debt I owe to this city and its wonderful people.