I’ve been a reporter at Voice of San Diego for seven years next week. That’s nearly one-quarter of my life.

Or by another yardstick: I was hired to fill Will Carless’s inimitable shoes in 2006, when VOSD was still just over a year old. I was still here when he came back, when he left again, when he came back, and now when he’s leaving again.

But this time, I’m stepping away, too.

I’ve loved working here: Covering an electrifying time in the housing market and local economy, digging into mortgage fraud and holes in the county’s safety net for its neediest residents, spending a day in the life with close to 50 San Diegans in our “People at Work” series and beginning our “Meeting of the Minds” arts and culture events.

I started our quest reporting model with a look at the history of Balboa Park’s controversies and continued this year with a focus on homelessness in San Diego. These days I’m learning about the fascinating things innovative minds are coming up with here, and what could keep them from continuing to grow.

As our intern, Alex Corey, remarked when I shared this partial list a couple of weeks ago, “You get bored a lot.”

Really, I get excited to learn about this place, about all of my neighbors here and about what could make it better. VOSD has given me license and freedom to come up with new ideas, to boldly investigate and to think in big ways about San Diego’s identity. I’ve felt encouragement from many of you, battled with others and learned and gleaned motivation from the criticism of others still.

In this “gap year” I’m embarking on, I plan to be based mostly in San Diego but to spend portions of the next several months traveling, playing music and pursuing a few stories that have been percolating for a couple of years. I’m also planning to try my hand at making radio, a medium that’s fascinated me for a long time.

I’m here full time for another month, and I’ve got some interesting stories up my sleeve as our current quest continues. I’m excited to see VOSD, and San Diego, grow from another angle. I hope you’ll join me in continuing to root for the good work my very talented colleagues produce every week.

P.S. As I leave, I’ll reassure you that this guy’s still in prison:

Courtesy of Alameda County Sheriff’s Department
Courtesy of Alameda County Sheriff’s Department

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Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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