Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

May 2, 2013

Carrying on The Townsman tradition

Sonya Vartabedian
The Andover Townsman

---- — It will be hard for me to forget my first official week as editor of the Andover Townsman. As I settled into our offices on Chestnut Street in downtown Andover on Patriots Day, I joined the community and beyond in being jolted by the numbing news of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Just one week before, I had gotten my first real taste of Andover at the annual Run for the Troops race. What I pleasantly witnessed was a community of caring individuals united around the mission of providing homes for wounded soldiers. But beyond that, I encountered a close-knit community whose residents are united in their great pride for the special town they call home. And despite being a relative stranger, they at once made me feel immediately at ease.

A week later, I watched as this same community grappled with the horrors of a terrorist attack on Boston. But again, I encountered a family of people united over a sense of wanting to aid and support their fellow man and each other, to come together to grieve and find the strength to carry on.

Because at its core, Andover is a small-town community built with people who haven’t arbitrarily landed here, but who have chosen it as the place they desire to live. Truth is, most can’t imagine themselves living anywhere else.

And that’s what makes my job at the Townsman truly exciting. I intend to carry on the Townsman’s proud tradition of having served this community for 125 years.

In the coming weeks, I will be striving to introduce myself throughout town and getting to know more about what makes it ticks. As I do, I want to hear your hopes and desires for The Townsman and what you would like to see in its pages. I want this to be your newspaper and to deliver the news and features you most want to read. I want to be your source for all things Andover — your window into the community you love to call home.

To help me in this mission, I am pleased to welcome Bill Kirk to the Townsman staff as assistant editor. Bill comes to the Townsman from The Eagle-Tribune, our sister paper, where over the last 10 years he has worked in a variety of capacities, including night editor, copy desk editor, business editor and, most recently, morning/Web editor. He has been in the newspaper industry for about 25 years, starting as a reporter in Danvers, and shares my passion for community journalism.

Bill joins staff reporters Dustin Luca and Judy Wakefield and sports writer Dave Willis in making up the Townsman team.

I’m also thrilled to welcome Bill Burt, executive sports editor of The Eagle-Tribune, to the pages of The Townsman as a recurring columnist. A 30-year veteran reporter and editor, Bill is no stranger to Andover, having lived in town and covered its sports teams for decades.

Bill is leading one of our most exciting projects this year — a 25th anniversary commemorative section on the Andover Little League’s historic ride to Williamsport, Pa., for the World Series crown in 1988. Stay tuned for more details on our look back and celebration of this memorable moment in Andover’s past that truly captured the town.

And that’s just for starters. In the coming weeks, I look forward to introducing new features and hearing your ideas. I’m eager to get to know you all better and to become part of Andover. Stop by and introduce yourself next time you’re downtown. I’d love to say Hello.

Sonya Vartabedian is the editor of The Andover Townsman. She can be reached at 978-475-7000, ext. 8733, or