Guest post from CRR, aka Charles Raasch, on a change in scenery:

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven” – Ecclesiastes 3:1 

So, this is that time.

I’ve decided to join three dozen or so other senior colleagues at USA TODAY who have had a great run and have been given a generous gift: A year to figure out what we want to be when we grow up.

After 45 gut-wrenching days, in which the decision to stay or leave a job that I was born for never got far beyond 50-50, the objective reporter in me won over the journalist’s heart.
It’s time for a new assignment.

I am not done writing. That I know. And I am not near retiring, not on a day when my 79-year-old dad is planting seed corn in South Dakota soil. Retirement is not possible.

I thank USA TODAY and Gannett. In an age when it’s the easiest thing to be cynical about our institutions and corporations, I have been blessed to experience what any South Dakota farm boy could have dreamed. I’ve been allowed to do something I love while staying true to who I am. Bylines from four continents and 49 states (and I WILL write from Hawaii, bank on it). Great bosses and colleagues, men and women, who believed, like me, that journalism was a calling as strong as the law or the cloth or medicine. The youngest cover story writer on the original USA TODAY. Senior writer at some of the nation’s biggest moments, from elections to 9/11 to just now, Boston. I’ve interviewed presidential candidates and great Americans who lived in one-room cabins in the Great Smoky Mountains (and generally enjoyed the latter types more).

And here is all I know for sure after all these years: First , America is so much more than the sum total of its coasts, and the news organizations that remain relevant will be the ones that follow USA TODAY’S original legacy in recognizing that.  Second, as we click away for the latest incremental developments on Justin Bieber’s pet monkey, exciting aggregationists and content monetizers everywhere, it is still true and will always be true that journalism is context, substance, meaning, analysis, understanding. And yes, news that the people might not want to hear.

Thanks for the indulgence, and see you down the road.

Sandy Johnson will return this weekend with more posts on gardening and politics. 

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