Ladies and gentlemen of Crestview, I apologize for waiting so long to say hi — so hi! I’m Aaron Little, your editor of the Crestview News Bulletin. I wanted to give you some of my background and then let our newest reporter, Ashleigh Wilde, one of the most humble people I’ve met who also happens to be an excellent writer, introduce herself.

I took over for Thomas Boni just over a year ago doing the same daunting job that he did, editing both the Santa Rosa Press Gazette and the Crestview News Bulletin. I was with the Milton paper for four years before that.

My path into journalism wasn’t your typical one. I didn’t have dreams of interviewing a president or celebrities in high school, and I didn’t study journalism in college. My degree is in English literature and creative writing from the University of Arizona.

In school, I made the mistake of not looking for a solid career path while following my dream to write. It turns out most companies want something more than literary analysis and short-story writing abilities. So once I came to Florida, I had to find what I could get.

Long story short, I started as a travel agent for Expedia.com, got off the phone and on my feet as a floor tech for a Gulf Breeze nursing home, then finally decided to seek a job remotely related to my degree and stumbled into an opening at the Milton newspaper.

I work primarily out of the Milton office, but our new reporter, Ashleigh Wilde, lives and works in Crestview. Here's her introduction:

Hello everyone, I’m Ashleigh Wilde, your new Crestview Bulletin reporter. How did I get here? Great question.

I didn’t always want to be a journalist. I started college at the University of West Florida with my mind set on psychology. While I was finishing my general studies, I decided as much as I liked helping people and listening to their problems, I didn’t like science enough to study it for eight years. What did I want to do instead? I didn’t totally know.

All I knew was I loved sports and wanted to do something in sports. After talking with my adviser, I found that I could get the best of both worlds (cue the Hannah Montana song). I landed on a major in journalism, with a concentrated area of study in sports psychology.

Fast forward a couple of years, there I was with a degree, but no job in my career field. I knew it could take a while, especially when most places wanted three to five years of experience. So, I decided to become a substitute teacher for Okaloosa County School District. I thought I’d only have to do that for a couple of months. Man, was I wrong.

It took a year and a half from the day I graduated college to the day I finally started my career. It was a rough road, full of days where I felt defeated and like I should give up. I never did. I just kept trusting God and kept applying, until one day I was offered the job of the new Crestview Bulletin reporter.

Now, it’s been a month and I’m loving it. Crestview is home and I’m glad I get to stay near my friends and family. This is a great place to work and I can’t wait to see what exciting things will come our way. Stay tuned.

Aaron Little is the editor of the Santa Rosa Press Gazette and the Crestview News Bulletin. You can reach him at alittle@srpressgazette.com