Your Editor, Four Months Later

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Years ago, a friend of my father's threw out the idea that there were things no one could understand about life unless they had been a bartender.

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Roundup editor Autumn Phillips

I took this strange piece of wisdom to heart and applied for a job as a bartender.

In many ways he was right. From your station behind the bar, you see people at their best and at their worst. It was as if the world was a stage and I was the only audience member.

Years later, as I sit behind the editor's desk at the Payson Roundup, I feel much the same way.

A parade of people come through my office or pass through my life by e-mail or phone, and I would say that from this position I have seen the gamut of human behavior -- for good and for bad.

I arrived in Payson on Feb. 7. That night, I attended the Candidates Forum at Payson High School. I listened to the candidates answer questions about water and growth and I looked around at the faces of the community I had just joined. I was amazed to see how many people attended that night. It was a capacity crowd, something I've never witnessed at any similar event in any community I've lived. While "apathy" is the word in many towns, it took me one day in town to know that Payson was the kind of place where people paid attention.

Outside, a wildfire was burning -- the February Fire -- and I knew that my new life as editor of the Payson Roundup was going to be an adventure.

I sat in my seat behind this editor's desk for the first time on Feb. 9, exactly four months ago today. After years as a reporter at newspapers around the country, this is my first editor position.

And because it is my first, I would like to begin this weekly column "From the Editor" as a way of opening up the dialogue between myself and the community. After every edition, I receive phone calls asking why I made this decision or that -- to put a story in an inside page rather than the front, to take a certain angle on an editorial or to not cover a particular event or issue.

Many times I have had a confident answer and sometimes I have made a mistake.

That is the purpose of this column, to be accountable to you, the reader. It will also be a place for me to introduce new features, special projects and to share our vision for the future of this newspaper as we grow along with the community.

"From the Editor" will publish every Friday on the Opinion page. If you have questions for me, I will be happy to discuss them here. E-mail me at editor@payson.com or call (928) 474-5251 ext. 115.

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