There is an end to an era today at in Lansdale.
After 38 years at the paper - her entire career after college - Executive Editor Nona Breaux is retiring today.
"It is bittersweet," Breaux said on the show. "I did decide to retire from this part of my career life. I started here after college, and that is unheard of today. I have spent my entire adult working life at The Reporter."
Breaux began with The Reporter in September 1973; at that time, it was owned by the Knipe and Berky families under Equitable Publishing. That company also began WNPV 1440 AM.
She called Knipe a "totally nice guy."
"I still remember when I started working there, Howard Berky was working here, and he would walk in the newsroom and say, 'Good morning, boys and girls!' It felt like you were back in elementary school," she said.
Lansdale Historical Society President Dick Shearer worked with Breaux during her tenure at The Reporter, including as Executive Editor.
"It is indeed the end of an era, and especially for me, because I worked with her longer than anyone else in The Reporter newsroom," Shearer said. "She came in 1973 right out of college with absolutely no newspaper experience, but she was a quick learner."
Shearer said that, in the early years, he's sure she didn't move up through the ranks as quickly as she wanted.
"Women were being hired with greater frequency than men in those days, but promoting women to supervisory jobs was still evolving," he said. "In her own way, she did a lot to eliminate the glass ceiling because, as she gained experience, she scuttled most of the excuses for not promoting her."
Shearer said Breaux served in every position at The Reporter, except sports editor.
"Of all those jobs, I think her real strength was as a copy editor. She had a remarkable ability to clean up convoluted stories - mine included - and make them accrurate and readable," he said.
Ask Breaux's employees and former co-workers about her work ethic, and they would surely tell you: she had a reputation for being tough.
"As she moved up the management chain, she mellowed some and I think that helped her adjust to the changing times in journalism - certainly better than I would have," said Shearer. "We've been friends as well as co-workers for 38 years and I think it's great that she had a chance to leave the profession by her own choice and move onto something she really enjoys."
Breaux was there when it was sold to Gannett in 1980, and saw its sale to Journal Register Company in 2001. (And, most recent, the sale of JRC to Alden Global Capital in July 2011).
She also spearheaded the local news change to digital first.
"It's an exciting time. We are moving forward in a lot of great ways," she said during the interview. "We are digital first, and we’ve devoted a lot of resources to that with video, constant updates with text messages for alerts, Twitter and Facebook."
Those who were fans of Breaux could follow her daily blog "By Chance" on The Reporter website. She will continue to write on that blog in her retirement.
Breaux wrote a farewell to readers in her blog, which you can read here.
While journalism may be behind her, Breaux has a new passion ahead of her.
She will be working at a local veterinary hospital. This should come as no surprise, as Breaux has written nearly every column about her love of her cats and her experiences with animals and nature, including her trips to Vermont.
"I had an opportunity come up where I am totally changing careers," she said on WNPV. "Another love of life has been animals, and I am now working in a veterinary hospital. It's very strange to lot of people who might not know me as well as some other people; some say it's a very natural thing for you to be in that area."
Breaux said the retirement "felt right at this time."
"I think The Reporter will continue on just fine," she said. "We have a great team of people here. I’ll miss it."
No announcement has been made as to Breaux's replacement.
This writer had the pleasure of working under Breaux for six years at The Reporter. Tenure began as a staff writer, and eventually becoming layout editor, head writer and pseudo-managing editor.
When this writer left The Reporter in December 2010 to start Montgomeryville-Lansdale Patch, it was done on what can only be described as an unprofessional basis: two days' notice were given instead of two weeks notice.
I wrote my well wishes to Breaux today and apologized for the selfish move.
Without the leadership and mentorship of Breaux, I wouldn't be the writer I am today.
She taught me management and leadership skills, and I looked up to her as an award-winning columnist and writer.
It was always a dream to work at The Reporter, my hometown newspaper. I had sent my resume in many times as a teen, but nothing materialized.
After year-long stints each under Tina Flint and Mike Morsch at Montgomery Newspapers, and at The Morning Call's evanescent weekly Chronicle newspapers under Gerald Brahm (who is now an associate regional editor for the Lehigh Valley Patch group), I received a call from Breaux seeking an interview for an opening at The Reporter.
When I arrived there, my life had changed for the better - a hometown boy writing about the people, news and businesses in his backyard. I had a new-found passion.
I wish Nona all the best of luck in her new venture. She is leaving behind a legacy at The Reporter, not just from her leadership as an editor, but also as a mentor to the likes of myself, Dan Sokil, Bradley Schlegel, Brian Bingaman and Andy Stettler. Not to mention, the countless others who have come and gone.
Farewell, Nona. May you never see a deadline again.