Thursday, July 17, 2008

RIP, Darlene Brown

Somehow, and with deep regret, I missed the stories about the passing of Darlene Brown, a mainstay of the newsroom at The Journal (now Morning Journal) in Lorain, Ohio, where I got my newspaper start as a 16-year-old.

Darlene was a pioneer, a black reporter and editor when there were very few to be found in newsrooms, though she never felt the need to point it out, a person who knew all the dirt but spilled none, the person smart new editors or reporters knew to turn to when they weren't quite sure of the background, the context, the history of a local character or issue. She was everywhere in that newsroom, hovering over those who were willing to listen to her and even those who, thinking the paper was just a quick stop on the career ladder, thought they didn't need her. She outlived many of her contemporaries, the old hands who gave her a start or helped her along the professional path.

I had the task of filling in for her one or two times as TV editor, a job I never would wish on anyone and yet she made seem effortless.

The paper, appropriately, produced some touching stories about her, here and here.

I am very sorry that she has gone but very glad to have known her.

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