San Marcos Daily Record Managing Editor Nick Castillo (pictured above) bids farewell to the newspaper after 6.5 years with the publication. The final paper he'll oversee will come out on Feb. 5. Daily Record photo by Dalton Sweat
Now & Forever, San Marcos Daily Record
“Welcome to San Marcos,” Rattler baseball coach Bryan Webb would blurt out in the dugout during my first year on the San Marcos High School sports beat.
It was often in a sarcastic tone used after the Rattlers clawed out a wild win or lost on an unfortunate bounce.
That was in 2017, but little did I know it would be the perfect way to describe what the next six years would have in store — ups and downs, and all around.
I came to the San Marcos Daily Record as a wide-eyed, 22-year-old sports reporter. Now, I prepare to leave as an exhausted 28-year-old, soon-to-be former managing editor. The last issue I’ll oversee will come out Feb. 5.
The last six years have been a joy, but the nearly four years serving this 111-year-old newspaper as the managing editor have been an honor.
The Daily Record will now and forever leave a lasting mark on my life. I’ve made friends I’ll have for life, made memories, brought home some awards I’ll always be proud of and ultimately got to see great journalists pour their hearts out on the pages of this newspaper.
There were plenty of ups and downs. Getting the chance to see SMHS’ football team win its first district championship for more than a decade in 2017 was pretty cool. Only to be topped by the Rattlers rallying from down 29-0 the following week to earn a playoff win over Round Rock Westwood.
Then there was covering COVID-19 followed shortly by Winter Storm Uri — No one really teaches you how to cover a pandemic or a deadly winter storm in journalism school.
But there was also overseeing investigative pieces that ultimately won awards that made challenging times worth it. Also, winning Star Reporter of the Year was pretty cool — Sorry, I had to brag for just one moment.
But ultimately it’s been about the people met along the way.
Don Moore and Ishmael Johnson, the publisher and sports editor in 2016, didn’t have to take a chance on me when they hired me into the sports department. Don, especially, didn’t have to promote me to sports editor in 2017.
Lance Winter took an even bigger bet on me and promoted me to managing editor. For that I’m forever grateful. We had our arguments along the way, but we both shared a vision for the newspaper that I hope pushed it to greater heights. We’ll always be friends.
Major shoutouts to Drew King, the Record’s former sports editor, whose work inspired me to be a better journalist but more importantly I’m proud to call him my friend. Colton Ashabranner's title may have been lead designer but he was really the editorial team’s MVP — doing so much in the background like our daily newsletter and social media. Stephanie Gates' reporting pushed the Record and myself to produce high-quality journalism. Alyssa Gonzales not only produced great journalism but made the newsroom a happier and funnier place. Shoutout to Robin Blackburn who was always willing to share her wealth of San Marcos knowledge.
Everyone currently on staff deserves their own shoutout. Dalton, the Record’s new publisher, is working hard to push the paper further. Alex dominates as our lead designer. Celeste is a phenomenal features writer and editor. Colton, our sports editor, works hard to find those great sports stories. Shoutout to Gerald Castillo— or as I refer to him as Tio Dinero — takes phenomenal sports photos. We aren't related but we're family at this point. To Marcy, Karen, Rigo, Ronda, Jason, Jasmine, Juan, Toy and everyone else, y’all help keep the Daily Record afloat and I’m grateful y’all put up with my nonsense for so long.
Now, comes the part you’re familiar with. If you have read this far, the Daily Record needs your help now more than ever. I ask that you consider subscribing to your local newspaper — a year’s subscription is 39 cents per issue, far cheaper than your daily Starbucks coffee. If you’re a business owner, I ask that you consider buying ad space in the paper. I know that’s a tough ask in this economy but this 111-year-old institution will make it worth your money. No one — and I mean no one — works harder to cover San Marcos than the Daily Record. Sure, we aren't perfect and we can’t always get to everything all at once. After all, there are only two news reporters on staff, which includes the managing editor, but we try our damnedest to keep our readers informed. So, consider investing in the Record.
I arrived in San Marcos 6.5 years ago and although I’m leaving the Daily Record, I’m not leaving this wonderful town. I’ve accepted a position in the communications department at San Marcos CISD. I’m excited for the opportunity. But leaving the Record is bittersweet.
This newspaper has left its mark on my life — Now and forever.
Editor's note: If you'd like to apply for the managing editor's position see the job listing at https://bit.ly/3Dim9mQ.