In the spring of 2013, Tribune Chronicle editor Guy Coviello encountered me on the campus of Youngstown State University and asked if I would consider a second opportunity to pen a fortnightly community column.
I agreed, although I acknowledged what the corps of 2009-2010 community columnists had been warned by the Tribune management five years ago: ''you will probably run out of ideas.''
Thus, I was willing, but apprehensive.
As I write one of the last of my contributions, I want to thank Mr. Coviello and the editorial staff for allowing me this venue for expressing my opinions a second time. I look forward to reading the opinions of four new columnists next month, just as I have enjoyed reading the columns of my colleagues this year.
I think I have not missed any of the offerings by Mr. Herman, Ms. Jugunic, and Mr. Tennant, and I thank them for their viewpoints and comments.
Many of the Tribune's letters to the editor include messages decrying the editorial leaning of the Opinion Page. It is true that most of the nationally syndicated columnists carried by the Tribune are probably avid viewers of Fox News.
However, it is also true that the Tribune editorial board has never censored my political views, and I consider myself a moderate, with slightly liberal leanings.
In fact, I had asked Mr. Coviello if items of interest might be suggested to me, and he told me that he wanted the community columnists to be free to choose both subject matter and opinion. In addition, I have often read the contributions of ''guest columnists'' in this space who have taken the Tribune to task for some disagreement with or expansion of an idea covered by the newspaper. These actions emphasize our publication's emphasis on literacy, participation and concern for our whole community.
My goals for writing this column every two weeks have not changed much in the five years since I first became a columnist.
My writing had not been scrutinized since my own college days, and I wanted to remember the feelings of meeting a deadline and opening my work to criticism. As an adjunct instructor at YSU, I place my composition students in similar writing situations of meeting deadlines and then being assessed. I respect that many of them find these requirements daunting.
As I draft and re-draft this column, I am preparing to teach a class in the fall semester, and most of the students will be first-year college students. There are new textbooks to read, a new syllabus to construct, and new lessons to plan.
If the new collegians are similar to those of the past 15 years, they will have limited ideas about writing for college and limited awareness of their own writing. Most judge their writing as ''horrible'' when it is not; a few think that their writing is ''like totally awesome'' when it might not be that accomplished.
All of them become apprehensive in the days before the first composition is due.
This tenure as a community columnist has reminded me to consider the revered Native American proverb about being too critical before I have ''walked a mile in (another person's) moccasins.''
I thank those of you who have been readers of my efforts. Some have talked to me in person; others have telephoned to express agreement or disagreement with a position I have taken.
These encounters have been both humbling and gratifying. I hope that my writing has not caused a decrease in subscriptions.
The readership on which I rely for criticism had been decreased since my first term five years ago: the deaths of my mother-in-law, Irene Kopps, my aunt-in-law, Donna Jones, and my sister-in-law, Linda Colley deprived me of their responses to my opinions. I miss these faithful Tribune readers.
Finally, my wife, Gayle, remains my first critic, and I thank her for reading these and asking questions about my writing and my opinions.
Williams is a Hubbard resident. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org