Longtime news columnist writes a fond farewell to one column and a hearty hello to two new columns.

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Be careful what you wish for, people: I’m leaving.

But I won’t be going far, just to our NWArts&Life section, where I will have a weekly Sunday conversation with a local who is doing something great, or a great who is doing something local. Authors here for readings, singers and musicians hitting local stages, the people who shake the hands and pull the strings that make things move around here.

Great minds. Big talents. And, hopefully, loose lips. We’re calling the column “Nicole & Co.”

On Tuesdays, I’ll be back in this space with a new column called “Names in Bold.” It will send me all over the city, covering parties, fundraisers, kickoffs and whatever other weirdness Seattle tends to stir up.

But that column won’t be the sole property of the swells and the well-heeled. There are plenty of work-a-day folks trying to kick up money, awareness and community in nothing fancier than a pair of Chuck Taylors. They’re just as important to the life of this city, so I will give them all the ink I can, and happily.

Why the changes?

Well, it’s clear that we do great work here at The Seattle Times. As I write this, investigative reporters Michael Berens and Ken Armstrong and some of the paper’s muckety-mucks are just returned from New York City, where they collected the second Pulitzer Prize the paper has won in the past three years.

But as well as we cover the city and state, as much as we right wrongs and change laws, we just don’t get out enough. We know we need to do a better job of rubbing elbows, hearing the things that people say across the table and catching the connections made at gatherings of movers and shakers.

With a kid away at college and an open notebook, well, it looks like I’m your girl. I hope you’ll spend more time with the paper on Sundays to see who’s coming through; and on Tuesdays to read about who’s been out and about.

But I can’t leave the news side of things without a few words about the gig I’ve had since 1999.

My name and mug might be up at the top, but this was never my column. It belonged to all of you, thanks to your stories, struggles and victories, and your willingness — or unwillingness — to share them.

In my 13 years of writing for Metro, I’ve covered a lot of ground, and not just around here.

In China, I saw the results of a Gates Foundation grant in an orphanage run by the Renton-based World Association for Children and Parents adoption agency.

In New Orleans, I tagged along with Seattle’s Total Experience Gospel Choir, as it raised their voices to raise money and spirits in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

I’ve gone to a Christmas party for a houseful of sex offenders; learned how to shoot a gun, and liked it. I’ve walked around the halo of the Space Needle and sat in more courtrooms than I can count.

I’ve seen the hiring of three police chiefs and five Seattle school superintendents, and the election of three mayors.

I defended women and children, who always seems to get short shrift when programs and funding are being doled out.

And I’ve tried to put a face on, and offer some suggestions for the issue of homelessness. But I am no closer than anyone else around here. That work continues — and may go on forever.

In turn, you listened as I chronicled my son’s life, and mourned my mother’s death. Thank you for that.

To the people who called hoping I could help: I hope I did, and if I didn’t, I tried.

To the people who called to tell me I was an idiot: Sometimes, sure. But I’m also a fast learner.

One of the last columns I did for news was about the shooting death of Courtney Taylor in the parking lot of the Rainier Beach Jack in the Box.

It was an awful scene; a pool of blood drying in the sun while people stood around, saying little.

“Can you tell me why he died?” Taylor’s relative, Denise Lloyd, asked the small crowd gathered.

No one could. Neither could I.

Sometimes columns don’t have an answer, but bear witness to the moments that make this city.

I’m leaving news with a caveat: That I can come back and weigh in on issues that strike close to my heart, and that don’t ever seem to retreat from the public conversation: Women’s rights, family-planning funding, birth control, abortion.

How can I leave completely, considering the Catholic Church’s recent laser-point focus on their own nuns, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops going after the nation’s Girl Scouts over their relationships with groups that conflict with the church’s teachings?

I’m inspired by a quote that I keep on the wall beside my desk by the late, great Joe Strummer, leader of The Clash:

“There’s only one way to write a song or anything else — you get all worked up and then you tell the truth.”

I hope I did justice for Joe. And for you, too.

Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Tuesday and Friday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or nbrodeur@seattletimes.com.

See ya Sunday.