EMILY GROVE: Growing up at the Pioneer

It’s time to do it. I have to rip the Band-Aid off and wrap my head around the fact Thursday was my last day at the Pioneer.

In some capacity, I have worked at the Pioneer on and off for seven years, starting way back when I was a baby-faced 20-year-old who couldn’t even look Jim Crees in the eye because I was so (irrationally) intimidated. Now, I’m pretty much daily giving him crap with no apologies. We’ve come a long way.

Truly, I’ve come a long way on this journey, first starting as an intern and ultimately finding my way back home from California to become the senior staff writer and cops and courts reporter.

The experiences I’ve been able to have while at this newspaper are things I couldn’t fathom doing anywhere else. I’ve sat through and reported on a murder trial, covered a bank robbery that happened steps away from our office, been perched atop a fire truck while firefighters worked to put out flames, hung out in the woods with police officers during an armed standoff and tracked bears with the Department of Natural Resources, getting the chance to hold a baby cub while mama bear was tranquilized and getting her collar data checked. I’ve also entered a pancake eating contest (it didn’t go well), went on a canoe trip down the Muskegon River (failed miserably but somehow survived) and was part of a cow milking contest (proudly took 2nd place) while representing the Pioneer. Oh, and I’ve also been subpoenaed and had to testify at a trial. And that’s just a brief summary.

But while all of those events have been memorable, the truth is the Pioneer has been way more than a job. In working here I grew confident and strong, bold and determined. I look back and remember being a young reporter, sheepishly asking questions during interviews. I have to chuckle at the girl I was because in all honesty, I found my voice while writing for this newspaper. I know I will take that voice with me in my personal and professional life as I move to Grand Rapids to begin a new chapter.

In the time I’ve worked at the Pioneer a lot has changed in my world. I graduated college, got married, moved away, moved back, bought a house, struggled, got a divorce, moved back in with my parents, rented a house with my sister, went to therapy, fell in love, dealt with the death of my grandma and now continue to figure out what exactly it is I want out of this life. And through it all, I knew regardless of what I was dealing with, work was always a safe place for me. I have cried and laughed and yelled within the walls of 115 N. Michigan Ave. on numerous occasions, sometimes all in a matter of minutes.

Because, you see, the people I worked with were not just my coworkers.

We pick and poke fun at each other. We learn from each other. We talk (mainly argue) about sports, politics, pop culture, movies, music and more. Most importantly, our editorial staff is group of almost always hungry people who celebrate Newsroom Thanksgiving (thanks to a tradition I started), devour froyo pizza to celebrate award nominations and almost weekly bring in other treats to share among ourselves and place on what we have dubbed the food altar because, well, we like to eat. And while it was time for me to venture off to a new job and new city, knowing I’m not part of the “we” of the Pioneer newsroom anymore still stings a little.

To you, dear reader, please know the Pioneer and its staff are a gem for this community. You are so very lucky to have a community newspaper and specifically them, my amazing former colleagues. These people work immensely hard and are talented, brilliant and dedicated. The writers, editors and paginators try their best each day to bring you all the local news they have the time and ability to cover, sometimes working ridiculously long hours. Seriously, they are rockstars. They kick butt. They are good people.

So the next time you want to rail against the paper for a simple typo (we all make mistakes!) or scold a reporter for missing your event, remember they are people. They have lives. They are just doing their job. They have bills, worries and stresses. They have families. They are part of my family. And I’m going to miss the hell out of them.

avatar

Posted by Emily Grove

Emily is the Pioneer and Herald Review crime and court reporter, covering crime in both Mecosta and Osceola counties. She can be reached by e-mail at emily@pioneergroup.com or by phone at (231) 592-8362.

Leave a Reply