Hello Clay County!

Let’s get to know each other

Posted

Hello Clay County I’m Don Coble and I’m both proud and eager to be working with this incredible group at the Clay Today. Equally important, I’m looking forward to being part of your community.

Let’s get to know each other.

I wrote my first story for a weekly newspaper on the westside of Orlando when I was a junior in high school. That was 1973.

Here I am 46 years later – and few million words, a few extra pounds and a lot less hair – and I’m still doing the only thing I’ve ever wanted.

I graduated from University of Central Florida – and yes, the football team should have been part of the Bowl Championship Series national discussion. But that’s a story for another day. I’ve spent most of my career covering sports for newspapers like the Clayton News-Daily in Jonesboro, Ga., to USA Today, Florida Today and the Florida Times-Union. I learned so much with each assignment, including the fact that nothing is more important than knowing the story is the only thing that matters, not the storyteller. Too many in today’s 24-hour news cycle have forgotten that.

I thought I was ready to retire three years ago when I left the Times-Union. I kept very busy as a correspondent, and I quickly realized I wasn’t ready to slow down. Heck, I’m just getting started.

I’ve been fortunate to earn some big assignments along the way. I’ve been to Super Bowls, Final Fours, World Series, NBA Finals, BCS Championships, Olympics and 40, count ‘em 40, Daytona 500s. I’ve also written about local park safety, small town traffic, the lack of local hospital beds, the community angst ahead of Space Shuttle Discovery launch, teen suicide and the best place to eat a barbecue sandwich. Let’s face it, I’ve had fun.

I get to gather information, talk to interesting people, check facts and present a story. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Despite having 46 years of experience, I know Clay Today will be another significant learning experience in my career. In fact, I’m counting on it.

It is not my purpose to reinvent the wheel at Clay Today. The newspaper certainly was doing well before I arrived. While I may add my own personal thumbprint to the way we cover stories, I’m dedicated to keeping a good thing going.

As you get to know me, you’ll quickly realize I love to tell stories. And why not? I’ve seen a lot in the last 46 years. Like the time I drove Shaquille O’Neal around Orlando with his knees pressed against my windshield. Or the time I hung out with the crab fishermen (who really do smoke and drink like they portray in “The Deadliest Catch’) or when I rode along the beach with Clint Bowyer in the Goodyear Blimp. Curly Neal of the Harlem Globetrotters and former NASCAR champion Benny Parsons are old golf buddies, and Brad Keselowski once drove me three laps around the Daytona International Speedway.

Oddly enough, I’d rather listen to somebody else’s stories. Everybody has one. What’s yours?

We always will report the news here at Clay Today in a fair and balanced way. We will ask questions and not accept anything less than the truth. We won’t be cheerleaders for our local officials, nor will we be antagonists. We not only will strive to tell you what happened, but how it affects all of us. After all, we’re all in this together.

So, Clay County, I hope we will get to know each other. There are things that need to be done and things that need to be fixed – perhaps in relationships and the way we hold each other accountable.

And there are so many more stories to tell, so many stories to hear.

After all, I’m just getting started.

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