Editorial: A change in leadership; an affirmation of our foundational principles

By on July 19, 2012

Anytime there is a change in leadership inside an organization, questions soon follow: How will the organization’s culture change? Will the group’s core philosophy evolve? Will the group continue to care about the same things they cared about before?

We at the Elburn Herald are entering into just such a transition—as of this edition, the new Elburn Herald Editor is Keith Beebe—and we can assure you that not only will the core mission, vision and values of the paper remain the same, Keith will add his talents and enthusiasm to ensure that the Elburn Herald will add even more to its community-service focus.

Keith is a textbook example of someone “working their way up from the bottom.” He began his tenure here as an unpaid intern in 2008, and we brought him on in a paid capacity the first moment we were able to do so. He immediately demonstrated that “special something” that cannot be taught; that care for the community and a desire to both pursue journalism in the right way and to constantly improve.

Over and over, Keith demonstrated his focus on constant improvement, and in doing so, inspired each of us to improve as well.

His natural leadership ability quickly moved him from freelance reporter to staff reporter, and then to Assistant Editor.

Keith had not even had the opportunity to fully settle into his new leadership role when he found himself in a situation in which he had to take on even more responsibilities. When former editor and current owner/publisher Ryan Wells went on a month-long medical leave in late May, Keith embraced the challenge of managing a newsroom while navigating the transition into his then-new role.

He juggled the responsibilities of being acting Editor so well during that time that it only makes sense that he continue in the role officially.

We are excited to give Keith this opportunity, simply because he has earned it.

And while it is understandable that the questions referenced above may exist, we know that they will be answered quickly in each and every issue, if they haven’t been already: The Elburn Herald’s philosophy of serving the Kaneland community through the pursuit of seeking and reporting the truth about the community and its members will only be strengthened by this change. The core philosophy of holding firm to the ideals of journalism—of being straightforward and honest, never sensationalizing a situation for a short-term boost in readership, never allowing the news product to take a side in a situation—will continue as always. And finally, the group, under Keith’s leadership, will always care more about serving the Kaneland communities than any other media outlet that exists.

The Elburn Herald has served the area for more than 100 years, and each owner, publisher and editor has ensured that everything they do serves that foundational set of principles. Going back to day one, in April 1908, each leader in the organization has acted as a steward of this set of mission, vision and values, and has passed that foundation along to each future set of leaders.

Keith has inherently understood those principles from his first day here as an unpaid intern, and he is focused on ensuring that the foundation continues to strengthen in the future.