Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Six years ago? Geesh ....

HARD TO BELIEVE it's been six years since I gave my notice at The Herald-Whig. It capped 16 years at the paper and 24 years as a full-time journalist.

I have no regrets.

The decision was all about timing. We had just moved Second String Music to Fifth and Maine and we were expanding. My guitar lessons were beginning to grow, but I had issues scheduling because The Whig started scheduling reporters on random nights during the week.

I think writing about crime and courts for a dozen years took a toll. You saw the worst of humanity, yet you also saw the best and the courage of crime victims. I learned our criminal justice system was far from perfect, and there was no such thing as the truth - just shades of the truth.

I'd go to a courthouse, watch a hearing, and I'd walk out saying, "Wow, I've never seen anything remotely like that before, or that crazy." Then I'd go back the next day and it would be even nuttier.

I was tired, burned out. The newspaper business is a young man's game, though several experienced reporters are still plugging away at Fifth and Jersey. Most of the copy staff is new. The people in charge are new. The Whig realized our online presence was the wave of the future, so we were taught to shoot video, write blogs and become much more active on social media.

It was fine, but I wanted to write, and I didn't want to write about routine board meetings, the first snow of the year, health fairs and gas prices. Look, they were all timely subjects and certainly of interest to a lot of people, but not to me, and that's when I realized I had to get out.

Two years ago I came back to work for the sports guys, just a couple of nights a week, and maybe cover a game every now and then. They'd like me to do more, but I'm content just keeping the skills sharp and actually trying to figure out how to get into my Whig email. I get a lot of satisfaction from working with the young people David Adam hires every  year. Most of them are college kids, and they come in raw. The ones that stick it out get better and their work effort and appreciation for sports is contagious.

People still come up to me and say they remember reading my columns and stories. Last week a woman said, "How come I haven't seen your name in paper?" I told her I left six years ago. "Really? I had no idea," she said.

Humbling, to the last, just like the job.

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