Because Randy Bartley had been the editor of the Jeffersonian Democrat for a quarter-century, and a staff member for even longer, it follows that some readers took his editorship and his weekly "A View from Main Street" essays for granted, much as we expect to see the courthouse clock tower whenever we traverse Brookville's Main Street.
The clock tower remains, but Randy has retired.
That might or might not be a loss for readers of the Democrat, depending on how future editors perform. I expect changes, and innovations, from Joy Norwood.
I write today, however, to tell readers that Randy was a journalist of uncommon dedication, unimpeachable integrity and unusual sensitivity to both the readers of his stories and the people named in his stories. He knows the embarrassment attached to even a deserved mention in a story about lawbreakers, e.g., DUI. He understands the agony for victims and family members when someone is prosecuted for incest. He knows that while readers love stories that are humorous, there is a knife-edge boundary between "funny" and "ridicule."
I say this as a resident of Brookville and its environs for some 15 years now — and as a journalist of 50 years' experience, half in this neck of the woods and half in other venues. While I am not the sharpest tool in the shed on occasion, I have learned, often painfully, what is good journalism and who is a good journalist. Randy did good journalism because he is a fine journalist.
We did not always see eye-to-eye during our quarter-century of working for the same employer, I in DuBois and he in Brookville. But almost exclusively, our differences revolved around production, staffing, deadlines, the warp and woof of newspaperdom, but not its core. I do not recall even one major difference with Randy about content. He knows that end of the business — because he cares. Sure, we diverged about the best verb for this headline or the need to use an offensive term in a news story; everybody differs about those things. But when it counted, Randy understood our responsibility to our readers, advertisers and the people named in our news stories.
Now that he has retired, I call Randy my friend. But from my viewpoint, his lasting legacy is summed up in one word: "journalist."
For that, as readers, we should all be appreciative.
– Denny Bonavita, Brookville