Mentor paves the way for new reporter

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By Kate Darnell

It’s hard to sit at this desk and write and not think about the person who used to sit at this desk and write.

I’ve been blessed to acquire many journalism mentors. And while I studied journalism at Western Kentucky University, most of my true education took place in the same room I now consider my office.

While I’m so excited to work for the paper I called home for many summers and a winter, it’s also a little sad. My hire was only brought about because of Donald Richie’s resignation.

Donald left many things at my desk. There was a collection of post-it-notes, papers, old candy, and trash he so graciously left for me to discard. Donald knew I am slightly OCD about desk organization. I believe he thought it was a kind welcoming gift. Perhaps his greatest characteristic is generosity.

But mostly, Donald left at the Democrat, very big shoes to be filled.

I’ve always considered myself a passionate person. I have always dedicated myself to endeavors and organizations with strong convictions. But it was Donald who taught me a passion for reporting.

Perhaps this idea is odd for many. If you’ve ever met Donald you might wonder if he gets excited about his own birthday. I nicknamed him “Sunshine” because of his inability to show happy emotion.

But soon after knowing Donald, I began to admire his ability to question the unquestionable and his strong curiosity that consequently made him a great reporter.

Whether you agreed or disagreed with what Donald had to say, you have to admit that he made you think. Sometimes we all need to sit back and ponder.

Needless to say, I am excited about telling Cynthiana’s story. I am ready to share the good and bad moments with the town I have called home my entire life.

My hope - and it should be yours as well - is that I will be able to question the unquestionable and maintain a strong sense of curiosity comparable to that of Donald’s. These two characteristics will allow me to accurately and efficiently report the news of this town, and better serve the people of Cynthiana and Harrison County.

And so these past weeks at the paper without him, I find myself asking so many times, “What would Donald do?”

I look forward to meeting and “re-meeting” those of you who also call Cynthiana home. It’s been a honor to write for you in the past, and there’s no doubt in my mind that this time will be any different.

And Donald... thank you.