One-time outsider tells inside story of Madera Tribune

Ever since I came to work at the Madera Tribune, I have wanted to write this particular article. It is about this community newspaper and what makes it so special. This will be my story about working at the Tribune, how I came to be a part of it, and why it is worthwhile to try to keep this newspaper circulating in this little community of Madera.

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A couple of years ago, I was working in an accounting office in Chowchilla as a CPA. Tax season, which comes around every year like clockwork, is a time of stress and many hours of thankless work. I decided it was time for me to hang up my green visor and retire. My date was to be December 31, 2016, but my employer convinced me to work another tax season, so my date was extended (pardon the pun) to April 30, 2017.

During that last year, a man named Chuck Doud, editor and publisher of The Madera Tribune, made an appointment with me. He and I already knew each other because we are members of the same church in Madera. He is on the Finance Committee, of which I am the chairperson. Chuck asked me to look over the books of the Tribune and do some accounting work for him. In that first meeting, I told him that I was planning to retire.

I remember our conversation well. He said to me, “No. You don’t want to retire.” I said, “Yes. I do want to retire.” Chuck explained to me his own views on retiring. He, like me, loves to stay busy, and I realize now that as long as he can breathe, and walk, and write an article, he will never retire from the newspaper business. It is what he “laughingly calls work.”

Chuck took me to lunch that day and asked me, “Do you know what it is like to be retired?” After our discussion, I realized that retirement probably was not really what I wanted. I just wanted to make a change in what I was doing, and I wanted flexibility of my time.

On May 1, 2017, I jumped from the frying pan into the fire. I began to work at The Madera Tribune. Chuck agreed that I could be flexible with my time, and I would be in charge of the accounting and finances of the company. However, during that first month, the business manager resigned, so I filled that vacancy. Ever since that first month, the ride has been interesting, enjoyable, exciting, nail-biting, heartwarming, nerve-wracking, exhilarating, fun, entertaining, and fantastic. Most of all, it has been rewarding.

Here is the reason The Madera Tribune is such a great place to be: It is the people who work at this community newspaper that make it so special to me.

We have a good team of people who work hard and care about the success of this little newspaper. They are real people — people with loved ones at home — people supporting themselves and their families. They are people who care about each other and the community in which they live.

When I hear someone slam The Madera Tribune, whether on social media or by telephone, I realize they don’t know any better. They don’t know these people like I do. They do not have this connection I have with a family of people, each with a role that gets that paper out into the community twice a week. Instead of being critical of what they find or don’t find in the pages of The Madera Tribune, this community needs to support its local newspaper.

The Madera Tribune has been publishing since 1892. For more than 125 years, this town has not been without this community newspaper. Can you imagine being without it?

In the coming weeks, I would like to introduce you to some of the folks who work hard and give their best to this small business in Madera, California. I am hoping the employees will allow me to write about them so that this community may appreciate what I know about these people. They are all special to me and I love them all.