This is a difficult day in the life of local media and in the life of many former colleagues. They have met their fate, as did I five-plus years ago, in the form of a buyout from a once-great newspaper cut and slashed to not even a husk of its recognizable self.
An empty office, on an empty day . . .
I share their ache as they pass bittersweet texts and photos along a digital chain of tears on their day of departure.
For many, probably most, there is pain certainly, especially for those to whom it was suggested leaving was in their best interest. But somewhere buried there — and they slowly show their faces over time — are the best memories of working lives that paid for homes and college educations, careers that nurtured and thrilled, and of relationships formed and solidified, indelible to all forces.
It was the very best of times; in its prime, our mothership had money, abundant and staggering talent, ambition, local, state and national reputation, creativity, empathy and bottomless fortitude.
It has become the worst of times; skeletal resources, thin reserves, ceaselessly spinning exit doors, dreaded goodbyes.
It’s empty, I’m well aware, but I wish my friends fair seas — even as their brains are a clutter of emotion, trepidation, hope, fear, excitement and gratitude. It’s a hell of a combo platter. The business is in their blood. The rush of grinding today and seeing the fruit of their labor anchored in print first thing tomorrow — or ok, immediately online — remains in all of them. It is like few others they have known, and that they will ever know again.
They have served themselves and their families and their community well beyond words. Damn those who seek to sully their life’s work with rabid attacks and false narratives. Damn the tides, and derelict vision of leadership, that have created the roiling sea changes that continue unabated.
This is a difficult day. But know, my friends, that there are great things for you all ahead, because ambition, intelligence, diligence, humanity and grace are perennials. They travel well. They are in short supply.
So count your blessings. Look forward. And be well-pleased with the footprint you’ve left with your collective years, because it is true. It is real. And it is permanent.