By Travis Silvas

Contributing Columnist

Fourteen years ago, almost to the day, we stumbled through the process of putting out our first newspaper. It was a long, mistake-filled night. Working through the relative unknown can be a complicated, often humbling process. Eventually — through patience, hard work and determination — we found our way. We found our rhythm.

Though the circumstances are vastly different, we enter our 15th year as a community newspaper facing a similar challenge. Like most of you, we are in uncharted territory, stumbling through a new process of getting from day-to-day.

Moving to a completely digital publication for the short-term was a difficult decision, given the makeup of our mostly rural readership. But it was necessary to be able to continue providing valuable news and promoting our local businesses to the communities we cover. That’s always been at the heart of who we are as a publication.

That doesn’t change, even as the world around us does so rapidly. There will always be essential stories to share, exceptional businesses to highlight. We will find normal again. It just may look slightly different.

We’re already adding new terms to our daily lives — remote, Zoom, social distancing. We’re finding ways to connect, even when required to keep our distance.

We’ve already seen leaders step to the forefront. Business owners, educators and community members alike doing what they can to keep our communities afloat. Whether through donations, advocacy or generosity, people are working together to meet this challenge.

The people we cover and the stories we get to share have always been the highlight of my involvement with The County Journal. We have such a tremendous number of people willing to work together to make our communities thrive.

Like you, I get to read about our community members in The County Journal every week. No longer telling the stories was a difficult thing to reconcile when deciding to transition to a new full-time job and one thing I miss. Fortunately, the stories have and will continue. I still get to feel the connection to the community through those stories, even if it is different. Working at MSU takes me out of the immediate area every day. That was a huge adjustment for me and my family.

Now we are adjusting again to working and learning from home. It’s a new challenge, but one, like you, we must meet head-on, knowing that with patience, hard work and dedication, we will find our way forward.

Travis Silvas served as this newspaper’s editor for 14 years. He remains an active member of the Charlotte community.