Since I was sports editor of my high school newspaper, I have enjoyed reporting what's happened and what's said and done that impacts people's lives.

I've been a journalist for nearly my entire adult life, with many positive memories. To be fair, there have also been some negative times.

But I have to say the main reason I am a journalist is to tell stories that inform people about important events and developments that affect their lives.

I remember more positive comments and reactions to my stories than negative responses, which keeps me motivated and interested. Those memories are not all due to the most important stories I've written: Many are from the human interest and feature stories I wrote about someone's neighbor, friend or family member.

As the world has changed, journalism hasn't fared too well. Reporters are no longer seen in the favorable light I found during my early- and mid-career years. Yet, I still receive more pats on the back than critical social media or email comments.

And there's another imporant reason I'm a journalist. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said it well when she talked about the importance of local journalism to the Senate Judiciary Committee:

"This is where they get their disaster alerts. This is when they find out if there's a flood …. This is how they find out about the fire cleanup .... This is how they find out if a blizzard is coming … . It's also where they find out their local football scores and if a business is opening. … It's how the city council is reported on. If that goes away, it literally frays at the connections in our democracies."

I keep returning to the belief that if I can write a story that encourages someone to get educated or involved in their community, government or neighborhood, I've made a difference. I always strive to produce journalism that helps uphold democracy, informs the public and connects communities.

That's why I am a journalist.