HUNT COLUMN: Goodbye to Daniel and Good Luck to Jennie

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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I was sad to learn a few weeks ago that Daniel Evans would be leaving the Daily News and our community after seven years here. He and his family have moved to Florida to be closer to family. I fully understand; having supportive family nearby can be a lifesaver for young parents.

I found Daniel to be wise and professional beyond his years. He is fair-minded, even-tempered, and dedicated to his work. He is an excellent writer and an advocate for our community. He believes in positivity, but not at the expense of ignoring the facts. He will call it as he sees it, and he will ask the tough questions.

Daniel cultivated a good relationship with our school leaders, for which I’m grateful. He would point out weaknesses without rancor, and he would also do his research to find out the truth if criticisms were made without supporting evidence. Recently, during the public comment segment of a board meeting, a speaker called for the resignation of the whole board and used dismal online numbers to support his complaints. Daniel dug in the next day and wrote that the numbers were outdated (data from the first year of the pandemic to boot, when testing was irregular and non-comprehensive), then went on to offer more current and much better data from a state website.

In his farewell editorial, Daniel also spoke earnestly about what most parents of children (of which he is one) in our system know: Schools are so much more than test scores. His children loved Franklin Forest Elementary. Daniel recognized all the “amazing people in our schools.”

Another comment he made, without elaboration, was that people need to “Read past the headline!” I’ll elaborate. Users of social media often get on negative soapboxes based on only what a headline says. Usually someone else will comment that they need to read the whole story. “I can’t!” the complainer will respond. “It won’t let me because I’m not a subscriber! Why should I have to pay to read this story!” The answer is simple. The LDN provides a service and can’t provide it for free. Their employees need to be paid. Newspaper production costs everywhere have increased enormously in recent years while advertising (and readers) turn increasingly to online news.

Cost-cutting decisions necessitated moving to five weekly online editions with only two of those editions remaining paper delivery.  With delivery now in the hands of the Post Office instead of drivers (another cost-saving measure), I appreciate being able to access the online edition early every morning as our mail isn’t delivered until around 6 p.m. Fewer route drivers and more online editions are better for the planet too.

Daniel mostly tried to stay above the fray, but he knew how to push back when the Negative Nellies had something wrong. I appreciated that about him too.

Now our Daily News is in the capable hands of publisher Jennie Overfelt, who has worked there for more than a decade. Tommy Murphy and Ethan Strang are both fine reporters (news and sports respectively), but I’m sure they would love some help to keep up with everything happening in our community. Unfortunately, several young reporters have come and gone over the last few years. Here’s hoping we will see someone good who has staying power join the team soon. The LDN provides what you’re not going to find easily elsewhere: a comprehensive look at local news and people. We need and should support their endeavors. Daniel, Jennie, and company would appreciate it.