Welcome to Coos Bay! After three days and 32 hours of driving, I was eagerly awaiting a sign that said something like that. To be honest, I don't remember if I saw a sign. I think I was too busy looking at trees and admiring water to even pay attention.
If there is a sign, maybe it should read simply, "Welcome Home." After a lifetime of searching, I feel like I may have just found home, and I couldn't be more excited.
As the new editor of The World and executive editor of Country Media, I have made it home. Getting here was not easy, but good things rarely are easy.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is David Rupkalvis, and I am a lifetime newsman. Over close to three decades, I have worked at newspapers in Arizona, Texas, North Carolina and North Dakota. It was North Dakota that made my family and me start dreaming of Oregon.
I moved to North Dakota in a crazy attempt to get away from stifling heat in Texas. Well, I succeeded. It was in North Dakota during the middle of a massive oil boom that I met dozens of people from Washington and Oregon who had also made the move chasing money. It was their stories of home that made me listen.
I heard over and over about it never being too hot and never being too cold. I heard about mountains and oceans and communities of good people. I heard over and over of places I wanted to call home.
Getting here was not easy. After surviving three winters in North Dakota, I headed back to Arizona, where I grew up. I eventually landed back in Texas, working as editor and publisher at papers close to my parents. While I love Southern Arizona and enjoyed much of Texas, neither was where I wanted to be forever. My heart had settled on one place — the coastal region of Oregon.
So one day several months back when I ran into an ad looking for an editor in Coos Bay, I had to jump at it. When I sent in my resume, I knew little about Coos Bay. A quick Google search showed mountains and ocean, so I looked no further. After talking to Country Media CEO Ben Kenfield several times and driving across the country, here I am. My wife and kids are still in Texas, but they will be joining me as soon as we can work everything out.
My job here at The World is simple — I am here to improve the way we report news to you, our readers. Doing that will take some time, but we will get better. But to get there, I need your help.
I have decades of experience reporting, editing and leading newspapers, but I can't do everything on my own. Every week, I will write this column. I will share a little about myself and a lot about the work we are doing at The World. I will challenge local politicians and heap praise when I think it's needed. I will talk about changes we are making and will ask you for advice and help. This week, I need some guidance.
In my decades in the newsroom, I have seen and written about just about everything. But what I don't know is what's important to you. As I begin my work at The World, I want to know what you, the readers and residents of Coos Bay, want to see. What do we do well? What do we need to improve on? What stories do you want to see? What groups, clubs, schools would you like us to focus on?
At a community newspaper, our job is to serve you, the readers. Send me an email at email@example.com and let me know what you would like to see in the paper. I can't promise every request will make it, but I can promise I will look into everything. As I get started, I can guarantee a couple of things. First, I will give you my all. Second, this paper will improve. I am thrilled to be here and can't wait to get to know this community and region.