By Victor Parkins
The Trenton Gazette and the Mirror-Exchange have both made personnel changes, effective Monday, January 25.
Gazette and Tri-City Reporter Editor Crystal Burns resigned from her position on Friday, Jan. 9. She has accepted a job at Tyson Foods in Humboldt in the Human Resources Department.
Mirror-Exchange Associate Editor Logan Watson will take over Burns’ duties at the two newspapers.
Ms. Burns worked for the Mirror-Exchange from 2004-2013 before taking the reins at the Gazette. Burns replaced Danny Jones, who managed and edited the Gazette for decades. In 2018, Burns also became editor of the Tri-City Reporter.
Burns said she would miss her position that she served so well over the last 14 years.
“This has been a good job and a mostly fun job,” she said. “But working for a newspaper in any capacity is a sacred duty. We protect the First Amendment, which can be harder than you might think. The job has afforded me opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise – like shooting a Titans game, or hearing Tim Tebow speak twice and patting him on the back when he walked past me once, or seeing Hal Holbrook’s final performance of his one-man Mark Twain show at The Dixie.”
Burns didn’t hesitate when asked what her most memorable moment was working at the newspapers.
“My first front-page feature article for The Mirror-Exchange was a goofy story about Mary Ann Arnold’s war against the moles and voles in her yard. She and I still get comments about that article. Good news is always fun to report. We don’t get enough credit for the good news we print,” she added.
Burns said she was very grateful for her tenure with the Gazette, Tri-City and Mirror-Exchange.
“I was floundering when I moved back home in 2004. I needed a job, but I also needed direction. The newspaper provided that for me, and I can’t say thank you enough for that belief and trust in me. Newspapers matter, and local newspapers matter even more.”
Mirror-Exchange Editor and Co-Owner Victor Parkins said Crystal would be greatly missed from their staff.
“We have a small staff so our employees are like family,” he said. “We asked a lot from Crystal and she never wavered from the challenges we presented her. She has been a very dedicated, loyal employee, ally and friend and served our readers very well.”
Watson has worked for the Mirror-Exchange for the last seven years. While he’s looking forward to his new position in a new community, he said he’ll miss the many relationships he’s made in the south end of the county.
“The people are what I’ll miss the most,” said Watson. “I’ve made a lot of great friends during my time in Milan, and while I enjoyed working with them to tell their stories or keep the city updated on things that are happening, I enjoyed them more than anything. The ladies at City Hall, the teachers and administrators at the schools, Chief Sellers, Allison Harris, the members of the Milan Rotary Club, Joe McMinn, Rebecca Jones… I couldn’t ever name them all.”
“I’ve really enjoyed being around the kids. Sports never really were my thing when I was in school. I’m a band geek at heart. I only started covering sports when I came to Milan, and that whole scene just grew on me immediately. I went from having no kids to having 500 of them. Being the guy that captured those memories for them and their families, bragging on them, it’s something I’ll never forget.”
Watson is looking forward to forging new relationships on the north end of the county.
“I’m really looking forward to putting my own stamp on something,” Watson noted. “The Gazette and Tri-City have room to grow. There are a couple of areas I would like to do more in. Groups that I would like to see us work with more closely. My main goal is just…more. Everything that I’ve done in Milan for the last seven years, I plan on doing at my new job. That’s my mission. My first order of business will be to meet the people here and to gain their trust.
“If you’ve got a cool story, give me a call. If you see me in the grocery store, come say hi. If you see wandering around looking lost, just point me in the right direction. We’ll get there eventually,” he said.