Suddeath

Daniel Suddeath

Hello Southern Indiana, how have you been?

Almost five years ago, I transferred from my post with the News and Tribune to serve as editor of the Glasgow Daily Times in Glasgow, Kentucky. It was a wonderful experience, but I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to return here after spending eight years in New Albany previously as a reporter.

I’ll be reporting once again, and I’ll also be taking photos, helping with Southern Indiana Business, and doing whatever else I can to help bring you the news that matters.

When I left, New Albany was burgeoning with new businesses, Jeffersonville was growing like my hair after six weeks of the barbershop being closed, and there was a palpable sense of hope for Southern Indiana.

As I pulled my U-Haul on to Spring Street in New Albany last week, two thoughts occurred to me.

The first thought was why are these vehicles going the wrong way? That was spawned by the fact that the two-way street conversion had yet to occur when I was living here previously. I had questioned whether opening downtown streets to two-way traffic would make any difference, but I must say, the changes are nice and it seems like Spring Street isn’t the racetrack it was before.

The second thought centered around how almost eerie it was to move back during the middle of a pandemic. Seeing businesses closed and people riding bikes and walking while wearing face masks wasn’t the local tourism pitch I recalled from 2015.

Times are hard. Businesses are struggling. People are sick. We’ve lost too many to this pandemic even if we’re doing better than some of the initial projections forecasted. But in spite of it all, there have been so many examples of kindness and community spirit throughout this country when it would be easy to be selfish and apathetic.

I loved Southern Indiana for its potential, it’s natural beauty, and its proximity to my home state and Louisville. Those were among the reasons that I came here in 2008 and I returned last week, because I still believe in this community’s future.

As a journalist, working for a newspaper like the News and Tribune is an honor. The quality and professionalism of this newspaper have been consistent features of the News and Tribune for decades. Southern Indiana is lucky to have the News and Tribune.

I’ve worked in this business full time for almost 15 years, and I’ve seen many changes. I’ve seen great newspapers forced to cut staff and reduce their printing schedule because of lack of revenue. I fear that many people won’t realize how important local journalism really is to democracy until it’s gone. But we can still do something about that here, and I wouldn’t have come back unless I believed strongly in this community, this newspaper, and our future together.

In our partnership, we must both realize that it’s going to be a battle to restore what Southern Indiana had prior to the pandemic.

Crossing the Sherman Minton Bridge and viewing New Albany from above is a beautiful sight. The riverfront has been improved, downtown buildings are largely occupied by tenants and the streets are in good shape.

This wasn’t always the case. In 2008, the scene wasn’t so pretty, and the outlook wasn’t so bright. That changed because people pulled together and supported a common cause.

There are brilliant business leaders here, elected officials who want what’s best for Southern Indiana, and residents who are willing and able to bring our community back after this temporary dive into the abyss.

It’s an honor to be here, and to help in any way I can.

Daniel Suddeath is the senior reporter at the News and Tribune. He can be reached at daniel.suddeath@newsandtribune.com.

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