If I had a list of expectations coming in to this job, Planet Weekly met them all. Like many before me, I am moving on to a new chapter in my life and will be leaving my position as assistant editor of this impressive weekly that has served Tuscaloosa for more than a decade. The next stop for me will be at the Anniston Star to work in their newsroom as the last phase of my Master’s Degree in Community Journalism. If I tell you I won’t miss this magazine—Call me a liar.

I say all of this out of gratitude for the opportunities given to me by Planet Weekly Publisher Linda Johnson and Executive Editor and Designer Herb Neu. Together, we formed a team that took this publication to new heights and to a greater level of popularity than previously seen. I am beyond thankful, simply to be included in that.

Over the past eight months, I have been given both artistic freedom and the trust of those around me. While I am not the best writer, editor or reporter, even at this publication, the chances offered by an alternative weekly has furthered my career beyond my wildest expectations.

Alternative media is rapidly changing the information game, and publications like Planet Weekly are gaining the trust of many whose faith has been shaken in traditional media. As those forms hemorrhage readers and revenue and downsize out of a reluctance to adapt, alternative competitors are quickly picking up the slack and those entering the field should be aware of this.  For writers or reporters floating out there in the ether, you still have a chance to become part of the groundswell in the changing industry.

My one hope is that I have properly served the people of the community in providing fair, well-written, and accurate stories that matter to those who make this city matter. If one of my small articles, out of the many printed, impacted the life of a single individual, then I score that as a success. I may not have always batted .1000 in terms of typos, but I at least pray that I was fair.

The way I look at it, Boston Red Sox Hall-of-Famer Ted Williams is world famous for a single season where he got on base four out of every ten times he stepped in the batter’s box.4 for 10—If I can come close to that with the quality of articles I write, I will be doing okay.  But now, I must end my sob story, step out of the dugout, wave my hat and introduce the skilled individual that will be my replacement.

Kendall Mays is a graduate student and GA in the Journalism Department at the University of Alabama. He is an experienced editor and designer whose vision is equaled by his extensive knowledge of the craft. Kendall is a passionate writer and a fearless editor who will only build on the things we have accomplished while providing meaningful stories and information to the readers that make this endeavor possible.

I am excited to see what nuances Kendall will bring to the magazine, and I have the fullest confidence that readers will be pleased with the direction that he will lead the publication.

For as long as I have known him, Kendall has shown superior work ethic, with an edgy sensibility towards contemporary issues and the media. No doubts exist as I leave Planet Weekly in his hands. With an experienced stable of writers, the sky is the limit for this magazine’s future.

Again, I hope I have served this community with respect and fairness. With that, I bid you adieu and pray that this edition finds you in the highest of spirits.

Note from the publisher: Ryan is a Journalist in the best sense of the word. His tremendous work ethic and ethical standards have helped to propel the Planet Weekly to new heights. Thanks, Ryan.

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