But this is how I bid adieu to the Dallas Morning News in September 2008. It was a hard time for journalism, and particularly for journalists. Shrinking circulation. Uncertainty about print vs. digital. And the agonizing matter of worry about layoffs and ‘involuntary departures’ and the long sequence of layoffs and ‘involuntary departures.’ Some days, you weren’t sure what would come first – deadline or the pink slip.
So. In September 2008, the Morning News decided it no longer needed a bureau covering South Texas and the border. On September 12, after 27 years at the DMN, I walked out the door. I wasn’t alone. A bunch of excellent reporters, editors and photographers left too, followed soon by forced layoffs of many, many more. Suddenly, I had no job. It’s a very weird feeling.
I felt it only fair to say goodbye. Here it is:
I have no wish to minimize the emotions felt by my colleagues as we depart. Some of us are just leaving early. Sadly, many more will soon follow involuntarily. But sadness? Not really. Not for me.
I’ll miss the people most. The laughs, the goofiness, the shared sense that we were doing something meaningful in the world. Unfortunately, the latter has been badly lately. I’m not so sure anymore what we’re doing as a profession. Comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable doesn’t seem to cut it .
For me, it was time to move on, to shake loose the easy chains of a steady job and regular paycheck and live a life uncertain again. (Though one could argue just what was so damn certain about the last two years.) I walk out the door today without a clue what I’ll be doing or what the future holds. To those I leave behind, I wish good luck in the maddeningly difficult work of filing informative, entertaining and factual stories every day. On deadline.
There are plenty of good people left at the DMN willing to fight the good fight. You have my respect and my love and all my best wishes. With the new construct of journalism we work under, you’ll need all the luck you can find.
As for me, to quote Eric Cartman, the philosopher of South Park, “Screw you guys, I’m going home.”