The Gun Writer turns five!

Five years ago today, I walked into Bill Church’s office with a crazy idea.

Bill was our executive editor — the top editor at the Herald-Tribune.

I want to start a blog about guns, I told him, a site supported by the newspaper.

Unbeknownst to him, he was the fourth executive editor at as many papers to whom I had pitched my crazy idea.

He looked at me for around three seconds and then said, “Do it. Have it up and running in three weeks. If you have any problems, see me.”

Bill has since moved on. He was promoted to Vice President of News for the chain that owns my paper.

I ran into him recently at an editors’ conference in Gainesville, Florida.

We talked about that decision and about The Gun Writer site, which has grown from a blog to a standalone website with a suite of social media, podcasts, newsletters, along with weekly television and radio appearances.

Both he and I are still amazed at the response.

My role at the newspaper has also changed over time. I was an investigative reporter when we started the website. I’m an editor now with more responsibilities, yet there’s still enough time for “the gun thing” as the other editors call it.

Five years is a long time.

For a website, it’s a lifetime.

I’ve gotten grayer but not slower, yet.

To date, we’ve brought you 1,720 stories — an average of almost one per day — along with videos, photos and thousands of posts of Twitter and Facebook.

I’ll be honest, none of it ever seemed like work to me.

It’s fun, pure and simple.

I get to shoot exotic guns, use and review cool gear, take the best training classes available and, most importantly, meet a lot of really great folks.

You are the best part of this job. You’re the reason we do this — our readers.

We will keep after it. We’ve got some great changes coming that we hope you’ll enjoy.

I’ve got to thank my colleagues for all of their hard work: Carrie Rasmussen, Bjorn Morten, Jenn Borresen, Dak Le, Mike Lang and Bob the Commando.

We look forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary, although I’ll likely be a bit grayer.

Thanks for your time,

Lee

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About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

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