I tell journalism students they are entering my profession at a time of extraordinary opportunity. I still believe that, even if the opportunity at TBD didn’t turn out to be what I was expecting.
I agreed today to pursue another extraordinary opportunity. I will be rejoining my friend and mentor Jim Brady and joining the visionary John Paton, Jon Cooper and other Journal Register Co. colleagues I am eager to meet.
I will be leading community engagement efforts for JRC: social media, community blogs, community conversation, the full range of community engagement. More on that as this adventure unfolds.
I leave TBD with deep gratitude to Jim for the opportunity to work here. I don’t know of anyone who better combines journalistic excellence, digital vision, business strategy, leadership and good humor. He conceived and executed a project with great promise. Anyone who says TBD failed wasn’t paying attention; we weren’t given a chance to succeed.
I also leave grateful to my colleagues for the special experience we shared here. I have never worked with a group better than the community engagement team at TBD: Mandy Jenkins, Jeff Sonderman, Lisa Rowan, Daniel Victor, Nathasha Lim and Elliot Kort. They are extraordinary journalists, digital adventurers and fun people and I will always cherish the memories of working with them, even briefly.
I won’t do the full roll call of TBD colleagues, but they amazed, amused, elevated and challenged me every day, particularly my colleagues in leading the project: Bageshri Ghate, Steve Chaggaris, Carol Touhey, Erik Wemple, Paul Volpe, Mitch Schuler, Andrew Beaujon, Julie Westfall and Sommer Mathis.
I am deeply disappointed that our company failed to recognize the opportunity we had here to develop a new business model for local journalism. But I don’t want to dwell on that here. Business is business, and you always need to understand that the owner gets to decide how to spend his money. It’s time to move on.
As I move on, I want to encourage other journalists – from my graying peers to students pursuing journalism degrees – to continue taking risks in pursuit of a prosperous future. Much as I wish our company had given TBD a chance to succeed, I am grateful that we got a chance to show a glimpse of our bold vision.
And I’m especially grateful for this next extraordinary opportunity.