This is goodbye

By Jeff Smith


For those that don’t know, I have decided to leave the Hill City Prevailer News and go back home to Nebraska.

I’m not sure how long I’ll be there or what I am doing next. I’m not even sure if I want to be in journalism anymore.

Nothing terrible has happened to me here but it’s tough to be understaffed and constantly looking for stories. I want each paper to be great but it’s so hard to do that. No matter how much time you spend on something it will never turn out like you want. At some point you just need to let go and hope that the newspaper will be fine without you.

I have neglected things like health and wellness as well as my family. In pursuit of good journalism I have lost touch with friends that were once close to me. I don’t want to lose my family.

I might not always put family first but I plan to in the next few months. It’s tough when you are out of college and all your friends go their separate ways. After college I realized that family is my only support system and maybe the only one I’ll ever have. It’s not always easy but I think that it’s better that way. Friends will come and go but family are the only people you can truly count on.

I thought that the beauty of the Black Hills would be enough to make me content. It’s amazing here and there are some great hiking spots. There are some that I didn’t get to see. I found a more relaxed atmosphere when I came here but it didn’t meet all of my expectations. There are so many great people here and I’m jealous of the children that get to grow up here. Every adult wants to see Hill City students succeed and there are so many great programs for them here. If only there were higher paying jobs and lower housing prices this would be the best place to raise a family.

This job is really rewarding but for every “success” there is another challenge. There is always another paper knocking on your door and you have to figure out the people to talk to and when.

Journalists have unfortunately become the “bad guy.” When I was in college studying journalism I knew that if I found a job in my field that I wouldn’t get paid very well. That didn’t really bother me that much or dissuade me from continuing. But I think that in the past two-three years there has been a large change in how those in the media are treated. It affects local journalism too. People automatically assume you have negative thoughts about them and what they are doing. I think it’s important to realize that most journalists are just trying to do their jobs.  There is rarely any malevolent motive for writing an article.

I have always kept an open mind and tried to do stories that would make a difference but not upset the large majority. Journalists have to keep going and hope that people talk to them but it gets tough to be a person searching for answers all the time.

I appreciate everyone that has taken the time to call me or answer a few of my questions.

There are some other articles I wanted to write and ones I wrote that weren’t good enough. But there’s always another story. My 20s won’t always be here and neither will the time that I have with my family.

As much as I wanted Hill City to be my home, it’s not. There are a lot more cows where my family lives. There are also big men with big trucks who do more than just work 9-5. If they aren’t working they might be at the bar. There are a lot of problems there and it’s definitely not the best place to be. But I have always learned to adapt to wherever I live. People surprise you there. It’s mostly in disturbing ways but sometimes strangers help you and that is unexpected.

I would like to write things that have a direct impact on where I live but we’ll see. I need to figure out what I should do with the rest of my life.

So long and I’ll see you in the future.