Longtime editor of The Union Brian Hamilton steps down
Brian Hamilton on Monday penned his final column as editor for The Union to announce he was stepping down from the helm of the newsroom after a 20-year stint in Grass Valley.
Hamilton, who joined The Union team in 2000 as a sports writer, will remain in a support role through September. City Editor Alan Riquelmy has been named as acting editor.
“I’m crushed that Brian is leaving, professionally and personally,” said Publisher Don Rogers. “I have a lot of confidence in Alan. If this had to happen, this was the best way.”
An Indiana native, Hamilton started his career as a high school correspondent with his hometown paper, the Wabash Plain Dealer, and also worked for the Frankfort Times, Elwood Call-Leader, Anderson Herald-Bulletin, and Ball State Daily News.
Hamilton said that he was a sophomore in high school when they let him join the newspaper staff, adding, “I just knew that was what I wanted to do.”
With The Union, he also served as sports editor and city editor, before becoming editor in 2012.
Hamilton will be stepping away completely from the newspaper world to work with his wife, real estate agent Betsy Hamilton.
“It’s a big change, but it’s time,” he said. “During my time (at The Union), I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities and the people who have made this the community newspaper it is, from staff members to the community members who engage with our work. They have my gratitude.”
Hamilton expressed confidence in Riquelmy’s ability to take over as editor, saying, “Knowing Alan and the roles he has been in as reporter and city editor, and knowing the experience of our staff members and their commitment, this makes me feel confident this is a good time to step away.”
Riquelmy has worked in a variety of fields since he graduated the University of Montevallo with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in history. He was hired by internet startup Hecklers Entertainment and worked with a team on http://www.antagonist.com, a now defunct website that reviewed video games across several platforms, ran online games for its readers and built a community through online chats and message boards. He then worked in Japan for 18 months, teaching English in a suburb of Osaka before returning home in 2002 to work at newspapers in Alabama and Georgia.
Riquelmy was hired by The Union in 2015 as the county government reporter and was named city editor in 2019.
“Brian hired me sight unseen from across the country, which was not only a huge risk on his part, but was life changing for me in multiple positive ways,” Riquelmy said. “I owe him serious thanks for taking a chance on me, and I’d like to think it was the right move on his part and on the part of the paper.”
Riquelmy said his main goal as editor will be to provide the best product he possibly can — local news to readers in the format they want.
“I want to continue Brian’s legacy,” he said. “He’s done an amazing job as editor. I hope I can fill his shoes and do just as good of a job as he’s done.”
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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