Thanks, farewell Anson County

By: Imari Scarbrough - Anson Record

When I moved to Wadesboro to take my position with the Anson Record, I didn’t think I would stay more than a year or two.

After graduating from college, I knew I didn’t want to move back home up north. I love North Carolina, and my then-boyfriend lived in the state, so I was determined to find a press job in the same region. I’d never been to Anson County before, but in the last weeks of my summer internship at college, I found a listing for the job online in 2012 and decided to apply. I got the job and moved to town — knowing no one in the county.

Five years after moving here, I’ve realized that as much as I love journalism, it’s time for me to step down from the Record.

My husband likes to frequently remind me that subscriptions to Reader’s Digest, in-depth conversations about TIME or National Geographic articles and tuning in to the evening news aren’t generally considered to be part of a normal childhood. But they were in mine.

Ever since I was little, I’ve loved reading and writing. Every newspaper, every book, every magazine I could find was devoured. The love of writing and literature began for me at a very early age.

Like most kids, I had quite a long list of possible careers I was considering — ranging from becoming an astronaut to joining the Coast Guard — but I always knew writing would have to be involved somehow. Journalism was one of the ideas I frequently went back to even as I grew older.

I always liked the idea of becoming a foreign correspondent or working my way up to writing for a major newspaper or magazine. I didn’t think I’d work for a tiny weekly paper for so long. But while it’s had its ups and downs, I’ve enjoyed the opportunities writing for a small paper allows. You get to form relationships with the people you work with regularly in the community, and writing such local articles often means that the topic is very important to the people in the area. Anson County news is rarely reported on by other media companies, so stories that would likely otherwise go unreported are chronicled here for the people who care about them. When someone comes by the office to buy a dozen papers their relative was featured in, I know that something I wrote was actually valuable to someone. It’s one of the many charms of working here.

As small as Anson is, it’s kept me busy. Time after time I’ve gotten to write about the incredible generosity of residents gathering supplies for the needy, like when so many pitched in to gather items for Hurricane Matthew victims last year. There have been marches, vigils and parades, such as after the double-shooting in January 2013 and again after a double-shooting in the same area on Salisbury Street earlier this year, where the community has poured out love and support. There have been soup kitchens and toy drives and fundraisers for children. I’ve gotten to write about residents advocating for an animal shelter, an agri-civic center, a moratorium on hydrofracking and so many other causes; regardless of my personal opinion on any given matter, it’s been refreshing and encouraging to see the passion people in this county have for what they believe in, and an honor to report on it.

Whether it was a local government meeting, the county fair, the discovery of possible fossils or even the removal of one-eyed baby dolls from uptown Wadesboro trees, there’s always been something going on. I’m sure whoever replaces me will be busy chronicling as much of the history and as many of the events and people here as he or she can.

Five years ago, I probably would have pictured myself at a bigger newspaper or magazine by now. As it is, I’m leaving the Record to pursue the next step in my journey. Working for the Record with you, the community, has instilled an appreciation and love for community journalism that I wouldn’t have gotten to experience with a larger news outlet, and I’m so grateful for that. It’s been an incredible experience and a wonderful community to work in.

We’ve seen how good I am at predicting the future. I don’t know what it holds, but I look forward to seeing your future, and that of your friends, neighbors and families, shared and celebrated through our little community paper as it unfolds. That’s a large part of why the Anson Record exists.

Thank you for the support, trust and stories that you’ve shared with me over the last five years. I know you’ll welcome the next reporter as generously as you did me.

Imari Scarbrough

Anson Record