My last day on the news service beat was Tuesday when ownership changed; the news service management had decided two months ago that it didn't want non-Tribune papers on the wire. It was not the decision of the new owners. I fought. I lost.
It's okay, though. I intend to study some Latin, write a bit and try out some advice from the great editorial cartoonist Walt Handelsman on learning a little Macromedia flash. And, oh yeah, get more involved with my teenager's life. I'm sure she's looking forward to it...
I have no interest at this point in adding to the ever-growing pile of complaints about what has happened to various newspaper companies. Someone smart better figure out something soon.
Like a lot of people in and now out of journalism, I have a very deep belief in the responsibilities of the press and our constitutionally protected obligation to serve the common good but real doubts how committed big companies are to what I consider a near-sacred duty. Journalism deserves better.
Until Friday, I am, oddly, doing some freelance work for the host paper and then will out of Melville. More on one quirky little side element at another time. The beaches are looking mighty good and I think I should explore them before they wash away. And I've been getting more and more interested in environmental matters in recent months, as well, and hope to get involved in some of green activities.
I had the chance for the last 10 years to work with some really, really fine people, from 2,400 miles away; enjoyed exchanging snarky New York vs. LA sports remarks with Gary (though I usually had to read up hastily on sports before the chats); talked business, politics and kid stuff with Phil and Carlos; "met" the new guy, the obviously sharp Matt only on the phone but enjoyed our short time as colleagues; Ellen, Tim, Anne, Marilyn and Stan were always steadfast and ready to help; so too Chris, who never let me down. Diana kept me up on things while making sure photos were where and what they should be. And then there was Michael Kaeser, who hired me into the job in the first place and continues to be a reliable pal. Most of all, there's Denise, the cheery, unflappable person who put up with more of my BS than anyone should have to and then took care of me getting out the door. I'm not sure all my stories about the trials of dealing with a teenager were always appreciated but if not, then all I can say is that she was warned. Like everyone else in the business, most of this crew went through some very difficult news days, from presidential impeachments to dragged-out election results, Sept.11, anthrax attacks, plane crashes and wars. I am proud to have worked with such fine people.
And thanks to all who wrote.