Three things have recently happened to give me hope in a future for those interested in telling stories of our communities with paper, pen and keyboard.
Last fall a friend and her grandson came into the office to have lunch with me. Her grandson who is 7, was visiting from California and was interested in what I did for a living.
I gave him a brief description of some of the things I've covered, how I wrote the stories and how they were placed into the computer for my editor to read.
For a 7-year-old he hung on every word with wide eyes and a big grin. His grandma told me he read one of the headlines on a sister newspaper which was being sold in an outside paper box and that he was excited about that, too. I forget the exact headline but it was something to do with an historic event.
One of my bosses overheard us talking in the lunchroom about his interest in news. She walked out and returned a few minutes later.
"I heard you talking about news and there are two things a reporter needs to do their job," she told him.
"A reporter notebook and a pen."
His little face lit up as she presented him with one of our notebooks and a pen emblazoned with our company name. I smiled too.
Later his grandma told me that our little reporter began filling his notebook with news stories he made up while they were driving home.
"He was learning about history and getting that pad of paper and pen from Erica and the encouragement to write, unleashed his inner creator," his grandma said.
Of course we'll have to discuss historical and editorial accuracy later. One of the stories was about George Washington being assassinated by a sniper with a high powered rifle.
I had a twinkle of hope for my profession. I also got a good laugh at the historic rewrite.
The twinkle grew brighter about a month ago when I received a telephone call from Anu, a journalism student at Kent State University.
Anu interviewed me a year or so ago for a journalism class project. I was impressed by the questions she asked and her calm demeanor. I seemed more nervous than her.
So when Anu needed another interview subject for different class she asked me and I was more than happy to help. While in the office we discussed the general state and future of journalism. She seemed to agree that while there are challenges there is still life in the ink-filled lungs of print journalism.
The twinkle turned into a full blown gush of excitement when Devyn, a journalism student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst contacted me for an interview need for a journalism ethics class a week after Anu's interview.
A few years ago I taught a few Hudson Community Eduction and Recreation classes and Devyn was one of my students.
Devyn grilled me for about 45 minutes on a variety of subjects which included ethics, interviewing policy and use of anonymous sources. I was impressed.
Devyn, like Anu, still believed in the need for print media and what we add to the landscape of daily news.
That gave me hope for the future of journalism and community reporting.
I think grandma and grandpa are always going to want to see little Johnny or Susie get an award covered by the paper, make the front sports page playing in the school band or sitting on the lap of that jolliest of Old Elfs during a special Christmas edition.