Face fear's path

Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.

You and I are coming to a fork in the road. I'm not sure how it's all going to come together or fall apart, but I've asked my bosses, Jeff vonKaenel and Deborah Redmond, for a sabbatical or a leave of absence or something—basically a year off.

Maybe this is too much information, but I've always tried to be honest with you readers in this weird little space, and I think this honesty has been one of the keys to this newspaper's ability to keep on keeping on in the face of the recession that hit the nation back in 2007 and is just now starting to even out: We're growing, and the paper's future looks good.

Anyway, it's like this: I've had a pretty unbelievable year. In part, it's because of work we did here at the paper, the whole FatalEncounters series, and the national attention that came of it. Many national and international media outlets used our data to develop stories—the Washington Post and the Guardian UK both used our data to start their own databases for 2015. (I have my fingers crossed that one will continue the effort.) Black Lives Matter and other social justice organizations used our data to fuel their own actions.

But my peaks are only matched by the changes that have come this year. Some I knew were coming. For example, I knew my son was off to college in August. But I never could have predicted the death of my friend Carmen, or the sudden and capricious deafness caused by Menier's. There's been a whole slew of life-changing events in a very short time. And in the midst of all that stuff, I raised $71,295 to fund the completion of the FatalEncounters database.

At this moment, I think the plan is that I'll step back to be more like a managing editor—planning issues and making sure people get paid on time, but I won't do much regular writing or the more tedious day-to-day stuff. I think we'll hire someone like me who's equally as comfortable writing news or features with an background that includes journalism ethics and media law. But who knows? One thing I've learned in the last three years is that the future is unknowable.