Friday, March 6, 2009

I'll miss all the people...

"I'll miss all the people I'm not going to meet," said David Montero, a reporter with the Rocky Mountain News. I ran across his quote in the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News. A friend from Denver brought me a copy while visiting Huntsville for her father's funeral. The newspaper closed after 150 years with one days notice. The staff found out from a tip that the owners were at the airport to close the paper. Nice.
I met my friend, Patricia, an about-to-be-laid-off-photographer-photojournalist for lunch at the Blue Plate Cafe to talk about layoffs, jobs and dark times. We pored over the last paper. I told her how I keep going back to that quote. It says so much about what I love about my job. She recently left the newspaper for another job and we often talk about the difference in a newspaper job than most other jobs. But as much as she loves the regular world of 8-5, she admits she misses the newsroom on election night or in the middle of a breaking news story. It's a job that gets you out there in the mix. Don't get me wrong, I've shot my share of used cars, houses, grand openings, etc. But I've also had some cool opportunities in cool places like Baghdad, Iraq, Selma, and even a place called Lickskillet. Over the years, I've made some great images of cool people. It's a cool job.
While reading all the stories from all the writers and photographers and editors who are losing their jobs at the affectionately-named Rocky it makes you think about how much a newspaper can mean to a community. Folks don't get into journalism for the money, they do journalism because they love what they do. Reading the stories and columns in the Rocky's final just made you wonder where things went wrong. They won four Pulitzer Prizes! I know about the JOA and the internet and the economy...but it just seems wrong. How can all these people who feel so passionately about something they have been doing for so long just stop? In one day, just stop?
This week was the deadline to turn in our buyout offers at The Huntsville Times. I didn't sign mine. I'm staying. How could I stop? I keep going back to the quote from the Rocky reporter...I'd miss all the people I'm not going to meet.

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