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Ready to explore

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

“Welcome home.” It’s a sentiment that I’ve heard dozens of times since arriving in town in early March and starting my new job as publisher and executive director of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook.

These kind words are uttered by people from all walks of life – community officials, education leaders, new and old friends, my coworkers, and even strangers who talk to me at the Wawa when I get my morning coffee.

I have to admit that I am a little surprised at just how meaningful those two words are to me.

The profession that I have always loved has been in a state of flux almost since the moment I joined it. Buyouts, layoffs, downsizing, and furlough days are now commonplace in media management. I have been lucky to work for corporate and family-owned media enterprises that are steadfast in their belief that an informed citizenry is the cornerstone of a democracy. But those beliefs don’t protect against a changing marketplace and readers’ demands that we deliver on our important mission in a variety of new ways.

So, just as the Philadelphia that I left 27 years ago has changed, so must the news business. And, to me, that’s an exciting new kind of exploration.

Paul Socolar, one of the founders of the Notebook and its longtime editor and publisher, charted the course for the organization over the last 16 years. Now, we must honor him and his legacy (and the long list of volunteers, supporters, employees and advisers who shaped the organization and helped it grow, and still do today) by carrying on the Notebook’s mission of journalistic excellence and commitment to improving education across the city. I hope that you’ll join me and my excellent team on this new adventure.

We always welcome new ideas, volunteers, news tips, and, of course, donations to help us continue to deliver high-quality writing and reporting in print and online.

Drop me a line at maria@thenotebook.org.