In February 2015, Winchester Star readers opened their papers to read a message from me, Melissa Russell, the paper's new editor. I was the former editor of the Reading Advocate and a longtime freelance reporter, and I introduced myself by saying I was fairly familiar with Winchester as a shopper and schmoozer, and was looking forward to getting to know the town’s institutions and people. I described myself as a strong advocate for community journalism and thought of the job as being the keeper of a public trust. Winchester’s residents, business owners, school and public safety personnel, elected officials, Town Hall staff, board members, faith communities, arts communities and everyone else, responded to me with generous encouragement, support and guidance.

This week, I'm leaving the Star to take the position of senior multimedia journalist for the Waltham News Tribune. While making a change is always difficult, I know in my heart it is time to move on. There are a lot of differences between Winchester and Waltham, that’s for sure, and the idea of covering a city versus a small town is a bit intimidating. But, the experience I've gotten in Winchester has allowed me to grow in the profession and I am ready to take on the next challenge. I thank you, the readers, for all of your warmth, humor, intensity, encouragement and faith as I step into the new role.