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Out with the Old...

This certainly isn't easy, but it looks like it's time for me to hand over Oak Forest Patch to another lucky editor.

I'm going to attempt to keep this short, but I wanted to make sure I reached out to everyone on the site. The wonderful Oak Forest Patch Facebook fans have heard the news already, but in case you're not a fan (why aren't you?!), here goes: 

I'm no longer the lucky journalist who has the pleasure of running Oak Forest Patch. 

After just over a year—one filled with supportive readers, breaking news, heartwarming (and heartbreaking) stories—I'm moving on to a different role within Patch. Despite my excitement to assume new responsibilities and help Patch flourish in other areas, this moment is quite bittersweet. (But before I continue, let me stress that Oak Forest Patch isn't going anywhere! So don't you dare stop reading!) 

OK, back to the sappiness. ... The job of a Patch editor is a quirky one. Our days are packed with people and their moments: the good, the bad, the ugly. We witness their trials and their triumphs, and try to tell their stories with accuracy always, sensitivity when necessary and tact where required. We chip away at the issues that matter and search for answers when readers need them. But truthfully, that's the job of any journalist. 

That's not specific to the folks who run your local Patch sites. 

Here's where the gig gets tricky. Patch is about so much more than just spilling information onto a website. It's a simple task, to tell you what we think you should know. It's easy to talk at people. Anyone can do that. 

What I love most about Patch is, that just doesn't cut it. From the day we move into our towns and venture out to meet the head honchos, Patch editors throw ourselves into the job. We take a deep breath and dive into our towns, and hope we don't belly flop. We put our work—and ourselves—out there, with this mad hope that someone latches on. We ask for readers' opinions, and hold our breath waiting for your answers. Because we want to give you what you want. Because this is your hometown: Your life. Your family and home. Your kids and their schools. And we know that we're only one half of the equation. Patch is a conversation, and we so fervently hope you'll sit down and chat with us. 

What I'm saying, in a very long-winded way, is thank you. Thank you for showing me how Patch can work in a community. Perhaps without even realizing it, you've demonstrated how people can use Patch to connect with each other, and their editor. You've shown how, if editors listen, a Patch site can blossom into not only a "news website," but an online community. Through the site, you've learned about each other and comforted each other; you've debated, or agreed to disagree. This site has taken on a life of its own, and it's entirely because of you. And it's been absolutely amazing to witness.

For the time being, fellow journalist Jeff Graveline will man the site. I encourage you to get to know him (he's a great guy!) and email him with any story ideas, tips or helpful tidbits. I know he'd love to hear from you. 

You'll see my name pop up on the site occasionally, as I'll still be writing for the south suburban region of Patch, only now as Associate Regional Editor. 

Oak Forest, it's been an absolute pleasure, and I intend to stop in often. I'll see you at Oak Fest (and at the new dog park. And at next year's Fleadh. And at the Christmas tree lighting). 

How about a warm welcome for the new guy in charge? 

Julia March 20, 2012 at 01:55 PM
I sure will miss all those pictures of Puck!
NANCY GRACE March 20, 2012 at 02:03 PM
You will be missed.
Lauren Traut (Editor) March 20, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Awww, Julia! Maybe I'll insert Huck as a my headshot, so any time I write or comment, he'll show up! :) Seems more people like seeing him, instead of me, anyway!
Amy Kupcake Litviak March 20, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Good luck in your new job wit hteh patch lauren. i only hope your replacement is as sunny, happy, and eager as you have been. Thanks for all the great conversations!
Christopher Paicely March 20, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I'll miss hearing stories about the latest happenings in O-Fo from you, but look forward to discussing the excitement that is the Heights. Bittersweet indeed.
Richard DeVries March 20, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Well I am out of breath now. I cannot read anymore Lol. Take care and good luck
Dave March 20, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Best of luck!
Becky Kelly March 20, 2012 at 05:56 PM
I cannot tell you how much I am going to miss your stories. I feel like you snd Huck were part of my everyday life while catching up on what was going on around town. I hope you have a great time in your new job with patch. You will be missed by so many Lauren. You are a great person, and I will miss our conversations. Good luck, and keep in touch! Very bittersweet indeed!
Richard Simon March 20, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Dear Lauren, You became a part of Becky's and my life for the past couple of months. Your articles about Becky and me made our life a little easier as the end grew near. Becky was so thrilled about the lovebird article she grinned for at least a full day from the hospital bed. I only wish she was here for your final article, I'm sure she would have wept in happiness as I did, our entire family fell for you after they read it. I'm sure she also read it from her home in heaven. Thank you so much for your thoughtfullness and kind words, we all hate to see you leave Oak Forest.
Chuck Ingwersen March 20, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Congratulations on your new role with Patch, Lauren! Thanks for all you did in making Oak Forest Patch such an outstanding site.
Gail Werr March 21, 2012 at 04:32 AM
Lauren, Best of luck to you in your new role. Oak Forest was very lucky to have you for over a year. You brought our community closer by keeping us informed and entertained. Now it's time for us to share you (I guess). You will be missed. Keep in touch.
Lauren Traut (Editor) March 21, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Awww, Becky! You are so sweet. I'm flattered and feel so lucky to have landed in Oak Forest! What a great community! Thank you for everything—all your support and help! It's been wonderful!
Lauren Traut (Editor) March 21, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Aw, shucks, Nancy. You're too kind. :)
Lauren Traut (Editor) March 21, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Gail, what an amazing compliment. I enjoyed every second of it. I'll be around! You're not entirely rid of me! :) Maybe I'll come hang out at Gingerwood Pool this summer!
Lauren Traut (Editor) March 21, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Thanks, Chuck! I'm so glad you found it useful! As an Oak Forest resident AND a Patch coworker, I take your opinion to heart. :)
Lauren Traut (Editor) March 21, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Rich, I am so glad I got to know you and Becky (though my time with her was brief). Very special people. I appreciate the compliments, but please know that I don't think anything I could have written would have done your lovely wife justice. I'll be around. I promise. :)
Lauren Traut (Editor) March 21, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Thank you, Amy! :)

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