When called upon to comment on what departing managing editor Jody Fellows has meant to the Falls Church News-Press over the past 24 years of the paper’s 30 years’ existence this week, Jody’s last with us, our editor was left to express, “Words can’t express…”
But words are our business, so we shall try. As Jody has written so eloquently in social media posts on the subject of his imminent departure from here, he’s a true native son of Falls Church. He went through the entire K-12 school system here, and that was extended in a seamless way to his career at the News-Press when he was recruited to work part time at the end of his senior year. He came at the recommendation of another George Mason High School student recruited for his tech savvy, his friend Lucas Hardi. (We couldn’t afford full time employees back then and relied on smart high school students frequently recommended by English teacher Michael Hoover, who wrote a weekly column for us in those years).
Not surprisingly in terms of the big picture, Hoover’s amazing legacy of 30+ years at Mason has been taken up by his successor, current English teacher Peter Laub, who was another News-Press high school part-timer who, like Jody, wound up working a couple of years full time here after college.
Jody worked here every summer and during holiday breaks as he made his way through the West Virginia University, and after he graduated, he accepted a full-time job here in the spring of 2001, the first ever offered after 10 years by our founder and editor.
The long-and-short is that Jody did not disappoint. He trained himself in every aspect of doing a local weekly community newspaper, running the gamut from operating the messy and cumbersome hot waxer (when the layouts were cut and pasted onto paper sheets) to mastering online layout techniques. Even more importantly, he became an invaluable collaborator in the management of the whole operation, including in the hiring and mentoring of staff members.
Over his years here, he married and has had three bright and cheery children supported by his News-Press employment. (Coincidentally, his high school friend Lucas has also had three children, all boys to Jody’s all girls, and has contributed a highly regarded City Council member, his wife Letty, too).
All of this is so very Falls Church. We remain a small hometown newspaper, but we are the “mighty” Falls Church News-Press, and with the indispensable contribution of Jody Fellows, increasingly highly regarded in the region, if for no other reason than that we’ve survived through the terrible downsizing of newspapers generally, including in this region.
All Falls Church is going to miss the contributions of Jody Fellows.
We ask our readers to join us in expressing a deep appreciation for what he’s done, along with sincerest best wishes for his life and family going forward.