Top honors for your community newspaper

Courier-Tribune Regional News Director Amy Neal, Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski and Southeast Editor Kellie Houx accept the newspaper’s General Excellence Award from Missouri Press Association Second Vice President Trevor Vernon in September at the Missouri Better Newspaper Contest awards luncheon at Harrah’s North Kansas City.

When you work for an institution that predates the Civil War, you can’t help but be in awe of the opportunity to be part of its legacy.

That has certainly been the case for me the last decade and a half working as a journalist here in Clay County and being part of the evolution of your community newspaper as we’ve moved into not just the digital age, but the age of mobile devices.

I got my first gig as a professional journalist on the copy desk of a daily paper in Alabama before returning to the Midwest and going to work for the Bradley family and News-Press & Gazette Co. in St. Joseph in 2001. Those were days when proportion wheels and pica poles could still be found in newsrooms but were already starting to become relics of days gone by.

A few years later, after NPG purchased multiple weekly newspapers in the Northland, I transferred to the office of what would become the Courier-Tribune. I’ve spent the last 15 years as part of a team bringing the stories of the Northland to light, first as a copy editor, then as the news editor, the managing editor and finally, as the regional news director for a group of NPG’s weekly newspapers. During this time, our editorial team advanced through different pagination software and sharing our work on social media became part of our everyday routine.

It has been a rewarding experience to be a part of the transition from a print-only publication to one with a robust website offering daily updates and even a mobile app. Just last year we added the Courier-Tribune NOW app to our arsenal of tools to keep you informed anytime and anywhere with a smartphone or tablet.

Now my chapter of this newspaper’s story is coming to a close. After years of writing headlines, designing front-page layouts, interviewing people in their living rooms and workplaces, chronicling community events through photos and planning editorial projects, I am moving to a different segment of the publishing industry outside of community journalism.

The Feb. 13 Courier-Tribune is to be the final edition of this newspaper that I work on — my final contribution to the legacy 19-year-old Robert Miller began when he published the first edition of his Liberty-based newspaper on April 4, 1846. I consider myself fortunate to have been be a part of this local heritage and to have worked alongside so many talented individuals — both on our staff and in the communities we serve.

As we put this edition of the Courier-Tribune to bed and I prepare to transition from editor to subscriber, I offer a heartfelt thanks to all who I have had the privilege to write about and collaborate with.

I look forward to reading about what the future brings.

Regional News Director Amy Neal can be reached at or 389-6629.


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