The lantern and the mirror.

Those are the two things that Brian often likes to say symbolizes journalism. 

In the dark, when information is scarce like in the pandemic, journalism lights the way. And when our society has fractured, caused harm to those undeserving like in the cases of police brutality and the resulting Black Lives Matter movement, journalism acts as a mirror.

But I think about how my mentor symbolizes those two things, too.

I started my journey into journalism the same year that Triad City Beat was founded. Fresh out of college with a degree in art history, I applied for an internship at the newly minted publication and was soon learning the trade on the job. Under the mentorship of Brian, Jordan and Eric in those early years, I caught the bug, and I’ve been chasing it ever since.

Anthony and Sayaka in 2014.

In the six or seven years that I’ve been working with TCB since returning to Greensboro in 2018, I’ve worked under Brian’s direct mentorship. And it’s been nothing short of life changing. 

He’s who taught me how to write — the kind of sentences that capture a reader, that show, don’t tell.

He’s who taught me that shoe leather is still one of the most important parts of the job, even when our industry becomes increasingly digital. 

He’s the one who taught me the importance of a work-life balance even when he didn’t really believe it for himself. He’s been the lantern that’s guided my career.

And he’s always believed in me.

After I moved away from Greensboro at the end of my internship in 2014, I started writing clips for different publications in the Triangle. And when I came back in 2018, he was happy to hire me back at TCB as a staff writer. Quickly, I moved up the ranks to associate editor and then managing editor where I sit now.

And sure, we were short staffed and he needed the help, but he’s always invested in my career in ways big and small. 

He’s helped me get to national conferences and land a seat on the board. He’s edited and worked through hundreds of my pieces when it was just us two editing work in the metaphorical newsroom. He was the one I would call when I was frustrated, confused, discouraged, pissed off about a story. And always, he’s been the mirror that reflected back what he knew to be true: That I was good at this job, and I belonged in the alternative press.

And he’s always been supportive, not just as an extension of TCB, but as a mentor who cares deeply about those he’s helping to guide. Every time I’ve thought about leaving TCB, he’s taken it in stride. In fact, he’s even encouraged me to seek greater positions, anything to further my career and help me grow as a journalist.

“I’m not here to trap you, I’m here to help you in any way I can.”

That’s what he would say. And it’s been so true.

Many of us think of TCB as an entity that has grown over the last decade through a collective effort. Dozens of writers and artists have passed through its pages, but only one person has been the anchor, the ink, the pulp of the paper, through it all. And that’s Brian Clarey.

Of course, we have everyone who has contributed to the work to thank for the last 10 years. But without Brian, it wouldn’t exist at all.

So congratulations Brian on 10 years of being an incredible boss, newsmaker and friend. And thank you.

Join the First Amendment Society, a membership that goes directly to funding TCB‘s newsroom.

We believe that reporting can save the world.

The TCB First Amendment Society recognizes the vital role of a free, unfettered press with a bundling of local experiences designed to build community, and unique engagements with our newsroom that will help you understand, and shape, local journalism’s critical role in uplifting the people in our cities.

All revenue goes directly into the newsroom as reporters’ salaries and freelance commissions.

⚡ Join The Society ⚡