After 16 years as a reporter, assistant editor and editor at the Chronicle-Independent, Martin L. Cahn is leaving the newspaper -- and Camden. Today is Cahn’s last day with the C-I. He joins The Farmville Herald in central Virginia on July 27 as its managing editor. Senior Staff Writer Jim Tatum will take over as editor of the C-I on Monday.
Cahn said his decision to leave Kershaw County, Camden and the C-I was a difficult one.
“The C-I’s been my work home for 16 years and I’ve lived in Kershaw County for most of those years,” Cahn said. “I’ve met a lot of people, made friends and raised my sons here -- I have a lot of memories I will carry with me from here for the rest of my life.”
Cahn said the Chronicle-Independent and The Farmville Herald are similar in several respects.
“They are both very committed to community journalism, with staff who hone in and write about the news, events and, most importantly, people of their respective communities. Once I learned more about the Herald and the communities it serves, I knew if I wanted to challenge myself for the next phase of my career, it would be the right place for me,” Cahn said.
Those challenges, he said, will include managing the news staff for the Herald, which covers three counties; two weekly newspapers covering two other counties; and an eight times a year magazine.
Cahn said Camden and Farmville also share historic characteristics, with Farmville having been founded in 1798 and incorporated in 1912.
“It actually straddles the Appomattox River, with most of the city in Prince Edward County and a small, northern part in Cumberland County. It’s only about three hours from my father and one of my sisters, and only five hours from Camden, so I can continue my most important relationship -- with my sons,” he said.
Cahn said while he is looking forward to learning more about his new home, he will miss Camden and Kershaw County.
“I’ve lived in the Midlands for 26 years now, the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere -- about half my life -- and most of that in Camden. The two things I’ll always be thankful for are being hired here in the first place and for the people of this community allowing me to tell their stories for the last 16 years,” Cahn said.
He said he is very happy with Tatum’s promotion.
“I know he’ll do a great job by calling on his 20 years of experience as a journalist, much of it right here at the C-I,” Cahn said.
“While I am sincerely sorry to see Martin Cahn leave the company, I am happy for him and the opportunity that he has earned in Virginia,” Camden Media Co. Publisher Mike Mischner said. “Martin has contributed immeasurably to the Chronicle-Independent during his tenure here, particularly as editor, and he will be sorely missed.”
Tatum, who got his start in newspapers at the C-I in 1998, said he is humbled and honored by the opportunity to serve as editor.
“It’s a little scary, actually,” he said. “I have some mighty big shoes to fill -- Martin Cahn, Martha Bruce, Glenn Tucker. Each of them has brought considerable skill, expertise, dedication and perspective to the editor’s role, which of course resulted in a legacy of excellence. I am deeply appreciative and honored by the confidence (Publisher) Mike (Mischner) has shown in me by promoting me and I will do my dead level best to measure up to and beyond the standards he insists upon and the examples my predecessors have set.”
Tatum, who grew up in Camden, is married to Holly Parrott Tatum. A working freelance writer since 1994, Tatum got his start in journalism in 1995 with WGTN radio in Georgetown and became a regularly featured freelance columnist for the Georgetown Times shortly thereafter. He started as the city beat reporter with the C-I in 1998, went to the Beaufort Gazette, a daily in coastal South Carolina, as a staff writer in 2000, and returned to the C-I in 2003 first as assistant editor, then associate editor. Tatum went to Summerville in 2008 as a staff writer for three local papers there, the Summerville Journal Scene, Goose Creek Gazette and Berkeley Independent until 2013. He took a year away from journalism to work as a technical writer then returned to journalism in 2014 with another stint in Summerville before returning to Camden in 2015 as senior staff writer.
Tatum noted the C-I is fortunate to have strong management and topnotch staff in place.
“I really am honored to be working with such good people – and happy to have the added blessing to be working with friends,” he said. “I know we’re going to continue to do some great stuff for our readers and for the community.”
“Jim Tatum is the perfect choice for me to promote to the editorship of the Chronicle-Independent,” Mischner said. “Through his hard work and dedication, Jim has earned this promotion and I am confident that he will be very successful. Jim is a great writer and, being from here, he has terrific contacts within the community. We are, indeed, fortunate to be able to replace someone of Martin Cahn’s caliber with someone as uniquely qualified as Jim Tatum.”