Mandan News

Ken Rogers retires

By Dustin White
Mandan News, editor

Ken Rogers has had a long history in the community. In 1976, he worked right here at the Mandan News. For around 15 years, he helped build up this local paper, working in the position that I hold today. Those are some big shoes to fill.

In 1991, when he moved over to the Bismarck Tribune, he continued to be a helpful presence at this paper. As Rogers once told me, he had a vested interest in the Mandan News, partially because of his history there.

When I started here, at the beginning of the year, Rogers was a one of my primary guides. While I haven’t worked with him very long, I have grown to have a deep respect for both him personally, as well as his knowledge of the area.

Now, Rogers will be retiring. In fact, today, Friday, April 25, is officially his last day. Yet, I don’t think that this is the last any of us will see of him. He has made his own impact on the community, and I have no doubt he will continue to do so.

As we see Rogers off, I believe it is best to allow him to have the last word. So below is his last column: his farewell.

It’s been a good, long run

By Ken Rogers
Lee News

The time has come to step aside. I’ve been writing on deadline since September of 1976. First at the Mandan News and then, beginning in 1991, at the Bismarck Tribune. My last day here will be Friday. I’m retiring.

I am so very pleased to have made my living writing. And, to have done so in North Dakota.

Most of my life has been spent in Morton County, first growing up in Hebron and then the last 38 years in Mandan. My mother’s maiden name is Stone. She kids me that I’m one of those odd Stones that doesn’t roll. She’s pretty much right. I like it here, always have, and I’m staying. Mom and my sisters have all moved on.

Anchoring me here are the people and the land. They are, from my perspective, woven together with my personal narrative and sense of place. Because newspapers always gravitate to the center of things, I’ve been able to be a part of the North Dakota story. Frankly, it’s humbling.

All of these years, people have been very good to me. That’s not to say that the newspaper’s readers have always agreed with me on every issue. They haven’t. There’s one thing, however, we’ve always agreed on: the value of community and a shared love of North Dakota

And, no, I’m not leaving the state, despite a rather long and tedious winter.

Newspapers are not static. Rather, a newspaper lives and breathes. Its ever changing nature takes its shape from a mix of people: a publisher, reporters, editors, advertisers, sales and production people, accountants, printers, packaging workers, carriers and, most importantly, readers. Each has contributed to the pages, or e-reader, that you are now holding. We are all a part of the same community.

People, such as myself, come and go, and it changes the mix just a little. The result reflects the community.

For me being a part of this experience has been wonderful, challenging at times, but rather fine. The experience has been rich. I’ve gotten to be a part of a great story.

The first week on the job at the Mandan News, tragically, there was a murder. And, then-presidential candidate Jimmy Carter made a brief stop at the Bismarck airport. Between these events, there were weddings stories that needed to be written, obituaries to be input and news releases massaged into shape. It was overwhelming and, at the same time, wonderful.

I then moved on to covering government, elections, sports, arts and, always, people. The stories that people shared with me, that I in turn shared with readers, were fascinating. And, it’s true, everyone has a story. Capturing the details and spirit of the tale, making it whole so that readers would know it, that was probably the best part of what I did.

I’ve covered wild celebrations and terrible tragedies. My life, our lives, have been made richer by both.

And, it’s never slowed down.

Through it all, I have tried to get it right and be fair. I hope, on balance, I have succeeded.

There have been many people, from all walks of life, who have helped me along the way, so many so I couldn’t begin to list them all. I want to thank you all.

(Ken Rogers’ column appeared in this space each Saturday.)