Working at the Tribune was a joyful time

Published 9:35 am Friday, November 15, 2013

Column: Staff Reports, by Kelli Lageson

In a way this is goodbye, but in another, it’s not. Saturday will be my last day at the Albert Lea Tribune, but I will still live in Freeborn County and always count this as my home.

I have accepted a position with the Owatonna People’s Press, but I know I will miss my Tribune family. Three and a half years ago, I was hired having never worked in a professional news organization, unless you count my college’s student newspaper.

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It says a lot about the Tribune that they take time to educate, train and invest in their employees. To all my wonderful co-workers who were always supportive: Thank you. News is stressful, but the office rarely was. And thank you for all the laughs and fun and general mischief, which made working so incredibly hard a little easier.

To all those people out there who took the time to meet with me and let me interview you at odd hours of the day and night: Thank you. It is rewarding to be able to connect with people and then tell their stories to Tribune readers.

I’m lucky that the Tribune let me do such varied and fun assignments, too.

Traveling to Camp Buehring in Kuwait and embedding with Albert Lea’s Delta Co. is easily the most exciting, nerve-wracking and fun assignment I got to do while at the Tribune. That was two years ago now, but those are some great memories I will carry with me.

Remember when I wrote guest columns each week as I was going through the Citizens Academy with the Albert Lea Police Department? What a great experience. I still remember getting to shoot a pistol in their private range and absolutely loving it.

My first scary assignment was just a few months after I started in March of 2010. I was completely terrified to cover the aftermath of the tornadoes that ripped through Freeborn County in June of that year. Though I was scared to approach people who had lost their homes, I realized that even in the face of that adversity that people around here were still gracious, kind and willing to talk. Thank you for sharing your stories with me and our readers.

There are so many other stories and assignments that stand out to me. Covering the new school being built in Wells, handling election night craziness each year, getting to interview longtime couples for Valentine’s Day and reading third-graders’ letters to Santa have been some of my favorite jobs.

How about a shoutout to Albert Lea Magazine? As editor, I’m so proud of all the work that writers, photographers, designers and ad salespeople do to make such a great magazine. I’ve loved hearing from readers that they enjoy it, and I can’t wait to keep reading it.

Way back when I started I had a great mentor, Geri McShane. She was lovely and was an absolute pleasure to work with. I was lucky enough to get to work with her equally lovely daughter, Erin, who interned at the Tribune this summer.

Two things make this job amazing. All those hundreds of people I’ve gotten to meet, chat with and learn more about make this job wonderful. It is so fun to interview people and tell their story, and I hope readers enjoy it, too.

The second thing that makes the job amazing are my co-workers. It would take too much space to list everyone I’ve worked with now and in the past and what makes them so great, so I’ll just say that everyone has been great in their own way. You guys are awesome!

To everyone, thanks for reading and thank you for supporting me on my new journey!


Kelli Lageson is special projects editor at the Albert Lea Tribune. She led the magazine and most special sections, paginated Lifestyles, inside pages and once a week the front. She covered schools, veterans, health and occasional features.