The Gazette-Times’ indefatigable K-12 education reporter, Alex Paul, is leaving us to return to the Albany Democrat-Herald.
Oh, I knew this day would come: When the G-T successfully lured Alex back to the mid-valley from a job publishing a weekly newspaper in eastern Washington, it wasn’t because he was dying to cover education in Corvallis. It was because he wanted to return to the mid-valley and, in particular, missed his homestead near Sweet Home. The K-12 job was the one that was open.
It turned out that Alex really liked writing about K-12 education here, and just about every other topic we threw at him as well. Alex would come to work many days complaining about how he had to write two or three stories that day — and then regularly would write four or five before leaving for the night. He became a familiar face at schools around Corvallis large and small.
But the commute from Sweet Home each day was tough. So when a job opened up at the Democrat-Herald that would enable him to cover east Linn County — a job that will allow him to work from home some days — he agonized for a while and then finally took it. Friday was his last day in the G-T newsroom.
You’ll continue to see his byline in the G-T, of course: No one writes with more authority about mid-valley ag issues, for example, and we’ll use those stories. I also intend to tap him fairly regularly to write for Mid-Valley InBusiness, our monthly business publication.
But his cheerful good nature and steady presence will be missed in the G-T’s newsroom. And we’re faced with the task of trying to replace that cheer — not to mention finding someone always willing to tackle another story. Or two. Or three.
Actually, we have a couple of candidates in mind — and we hope to have another reporter hired for the K-12 beat, an important one for us, next week.
But will our new reporter be able to bring in massive zucchinis from his homestead, the way that Alex did? Oh, wait — those we won’t miss.