Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The entire list of farewell notes

This is the comprehensive list of farewell notes.

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Whenever a Monkey Screams, Think of Me

I always wanted to be a writer, but somewhere in the sixties I got sidetracked by a Polaroid Swinger.

Now, being a writer seemed to be an admirable profession, but being a photographer seemed to be just plain cool. And being a newspaper photojournalist with a Nikon dangling from your neck as well as a press pass opening doors, whoa, that was tres cool.

So that's the road I took. That road led me here, and from here came all the memorable characters and exciting destinations.

I replaced a footnote in history - Jack Beers, who almost won a Pulitzer if his flash hadn't triggered Bob Jackson's reflex-response which froze on film the exact moment Ruby shot Oswald.

What I heard about Jack Beers was that he was a Mapsco unto himself - he knew every back road in Dallas by memory. That is something to emulate, I said to myself, and to this day I'm a student of directions and try to go mapless in Big D.

We all have heroes in our chosen profession and mine were right down the street at The Dallas Times Herald. Their photo department rocked in the 70's and 80's, and you only had to pick up their paper every day to be inspired to go out and try to beat them at their own game.

Legendary shooters like Jay Dickman and Skeeter Hagler would fast-talk you, wise-crack you, all the while snapping pictures intuitively at the exact decisive moment while you were standing beside them shooting the breeze like an idiot.
I fed on the rivalry, studied their skills, pushing myself to make better and better pictures.
Focus editor Bob Compton was really my mentor, a lovable, laid-back guru to young journalists, the newsroom Yoda who transcended space and time over the decades. He taught me how to find a great feature story and how to go after it in the face of long managerial odds. It was all about going for the heart. Uncle Bob was my spiritual guide in this business, a great lover of everything Texan.

I salute him to this day. Without him the well would have gone dry years ago.
My good friends were always in the photo department, the folks I used to eat dog food nachos with at wild goodbye parties with commode-hugging inebriated future mayors (when the police would arrive, somebody would say: "Send out the theater critic, let him handle it.").

After Friday Night Football we would caravan to the rather seedy Guadalajara on Ross Ave., eat greasy cheese enchiladas together and wait for late-night celebrities such as Lyle Lovett and Paul Simon to show up as sirens wailed and the bodies piled up outside.

We had one photog we treasured so much we threw him a goodbye party not once, but six or seven years in a row, the count being lost. Every year we always put the same notes up around the DMN to establish general confusion: "Jay Godwin is leaving The Dallas Morning News, please come to his Goodbye Party and wish him well!".

Jay, being the nice guy he is, would always faithfully drive up from Austin for his goodbye party even though eventually he really didn't know any of the people who attended his party.

One constant that still persists: you can be assured that walking through the halls of the photo department, you will hear sounds and see sights you will not witness anywhere else in Belo world.

An old geezer trying to breakdance to Michael Jackson, folks wearing riot gas masks during the basement leak, the Art dept marching in angrily to demand the stereo be turned down, a year-round Christmas tree decorated with the ex-boss's badge, Bic lighters exploding in fireballs in reaction to overruled edits by executive Sports editors, reporters hiding out in the darkroom darkness snoring away, a cowboy photo editor reading "Lonesome Dove" over the dept intercom, holiday grapefruits from upper management being hurled at lab personnel resulting in flurries of memos, staff meetings with shocked staffers photo-shopped into bikinis, on and on it goes ...

Some days being a news photographer is like being in a dream. One memorable shift, I photographed a cop killing in Grand Prairie, then Chuck Berry and Elizabeth Taylor at the Meyerson, and finally a botched burglary where a pathetic robber was trapped in a chimney trying to enter a house. One morning I was climbing a West Texas mountain with paraplegics in wheelchairs, that night I was photographing prostitutes in Juarez. If you love life and its wonderful tapestry, this job's for you.

A few personal notes with universal meaning:

Gary Barber, thanks for walking with me down to HR. That was above and beyond. But next time, let's take the stairs. Less traffic. It will be easier on the both of us.
I'm leaving David Woo in charge of highly-questionable requests on the 50/50 camera equipment program.

Doug Swanson, I'm leaving Woo in charge of you. Sorry about that. But at least you'll be able to survive a silver crisis. I guess I'll try to finish my photo essay "Voluptuous South Dallas Strippers and Their DMN Reporter Boys On Assignment." I've only got one picture in the essay and it's of you, but it's a start.

David Guzman, no matter what, take 15 more seconds out of that video edit. It's too long.

Mona Reeder, please don't get drunk again and try to steal my dog in the middle of the night. These days you could get shot by some neighbor defending his castle.
Irwin Thompson, you knucklehead, if I get one more call from you impersonating a Morning News subscription salesman ...

Leslie White, sorry I fell through the dumpster and snapped the LCD display off my video camera and then contracted a deadly staph infection that nearly ate my nose off but it was all for Elvis you know.

Nathan Hunsinger, may your scratch disk never be full. Ron Baselice, you misspelled your name in your latest video. Sonya Hebert, when things get slow and you have nothing to do, please enlarge the type on all the photo computers. Do Mahoney's first.

Tom Dillard, my original boss, wherever you are in the afterlife, I apologize for getting hired in 1975 while wearing a nice-looking suit and a Boy Scout haircut, and then showing up a few weeks later looking like Wavy Gravy from a Grateful Dead concert. It was a plan that worked.

Steve Blow, I still can't believe the DMN sheriffs let us go down Highway 16, the longest state highway, not once but twice. Twenty years from now on the story's anniversary, I will track you down in the Nursing Home For Folksy Metro Columnists and we'll hop in the Honda Civic hatchback and go looking for Arkey Blue again.

Richard Pruitt, hanging around you created a thirst for gadgets and camera equipment that leaves me very well-stocked for a free-lance career. At the time of explaining those purchases to my wife, I wanted to strangle you. Now I drink to your materialistic spirit. She does too.

Gerry McCarthy, I would say I will miss your constant stream of e-mail spam, but I just don't think I've hit rock-bottom yet. The abyss has got to be pretty deep for that to happen.

Guy Reynolds, if I get any more butt-calls from you, I'm sending Roky Erickson your way, the 13th Floor Elevators and all. Lara Solt, kill your babies. Michael Hamtil, I would love to buy you lunch, but, as you know, I have left my wallet in the car. Evans Caglage, don't get too good at anything you don't want to do around this place.
Mr. Ainsworth, you know what to do with those cross-dissolves. Louis DeLuca, you are the most well-rounded photographer I know and I do not mean that in the jelly-belly sort of way. Tom Fox, check with the card-stacker, see if he needs an assistant.

Chris Wilkins and Brad Loper, order me some boudin to go from the Shaq. Ahna Hubnik, to somewhat quote the Prairie Mystic known as David Leeson, a video is never finished, it is only abandoned, especially by our web audience.
Vernon Bryant, thanks for setting my camera controls when they became too small for me to see. Juan Garcia, remember: when something just doesn't look right, it's probably right.

John Zak, sorry I never got my mileage in on time. Maybe in the next life. Jerome Sims, please organize me before I die. Courtney, give me back my monkey.
John Rhodes, or rather Mr. Atomic Fireball, for growing up on the grounds of a mental institution, you seem perfectly sane to me. Melanie Burford, we'll always have the Taco Joint. Kye Lee, Richard Pruitt wants his carbon-fiber tripod back. Pronto.

John Davidson, the Boss With A Bite, if I just would have taken your advice years ago when I asked you where I should go with my career and you said: "Take a left out of my office, turn right, go to the window, open it, and jump" - none of this would be happening now.

I will really miss the wry wit of Jim Mahoney, who pounds the mean streets of Big D looking for amazing local pictures. It's hard to forget his comment about one of our more colorful globe-trotting photojournalists: "It really doesn't bother me that she goes away on these great international assignments, it just bothers me that she always comes back."

To former staffers Paul Brown and Ed Hille, as far as carpetbaggers go who headed south to plunder the plantation, you guys were the absolute best.

Paul, why we ended up with chocolates on our pillows and golden telephones by our toilets in the most luxurious hotel in San Antonio during the Pope's 1987 visit is a mystery that Belo Travel obviously must have had to answer for. The high-performance rented Mustang - hmmm, that too.

Ed, on the matter of the Nikon 85 mm 1.4 with the major focus problem you gave me in a big-hearted gesture upon your departure over 20 years ago, I sold it recently on E-bay for $500. A true confession.

Judy Walgren, dance with me, woman. How many cows did that African tribe offer for you again? I bet the numbers are down in this economy.

Allison V. Smith, give me a reflector to hold and a Hasselblad to load.

And then there was the great tale-spinner Joe Laird, our longtime society photog. He could easily segue from telling stories about machine-gunning "Japs" on Iwo Jima to stinky hippies skinny-dipping in the Trinity River at the 1969 Lewisville Pop Festival and then on to escapades of the rich and famous of Dallas smuggling diamonds across the Atlantic in their, ahem, privates. My eyes were as big as softball-sized hail.

And thanks to all my DMN buddies and future photo Pulitzer winners who appeared in our humble home movie "East Dallas Vice vs. Godzilla." Evans Caglage, Jan Sonnenmair, Juan and Leslie Garcia, Nuri Vallbona, Milton Hinnant - they all died horrible deaths at the hands of the monster and his evil BMW driver, Ken Geiger. William Snyder as detective "Sunny" Crockett saved the world at the end.

We were very young and crazy then.

To all the cameras I've loved before, thanks for the auto-exposure, the auto-focus, and the auto-white balance.

There were many great reporters I've had the pleasure to work with.
Bryan Woolley, who never met a chicken-fried steak he didn't like. Bill Minutaglio, who I ate horse-sausage with unknowingly in Moscow one night before catching the Aeroflot flight where we sat next to the large Russian wolfhound. Bill, who was once told in my presence in the hills of Nicaragua that he had the face of a priest, also introduced me to the male Aretha Franklin one night. We also were chased by federales in Mexico when I mistook a pull-over hand signal for a go-ahead gesture. Sorry, Bill, didn't mean to scare the guacamole out of you.

And there was ____ , who made me go swimming with her in the middle of an assignment in the 80's. I wrote a song about the experience called "I Feel Like a Fool In Your Husband's Swimsuit." The tape got passed around the newsroom; she never spoke to me again. That was fine.

Brad Bailey, who I never could find for hours while on assignment at a nudist camp because he took off his clothes and just kinda looked like everybody else. Those Miss Nude Texas assignments only come around once in your lifetime, right, Jim (rhymes with Moroney)?

Miss Marlyn Schwartz, who refused to go on assignment with me in my lime-green 1967 Mustang with black racing stripes and no muffler because, well, it wasn't air-conditioned.

Not to mention ____ , who smoked the funny stuff in my car on the way to interviewing large and scary Texas Rangers of the law enforcement variety at
the nuclear plant and had me and my career frozen with fear and paranoia for days on end. She would not be denied. It was the 70's, man, and a lot of people were still stuck in the 60's.

Michael Granberry, I've come to the place where the road and the sky collide. I'm not running on empty yet, but I probably could use somebody to doctor my eyes. As long a I don't run into Daryl Hannah, I think I will be okay.

Beatriz Terrazas, who proved to me she could roll with the best of the roller-derby girls.

Steve McGonigle, we were Horned Frogs all those years ago. As far as being an endangered species, things haven't changed that much.

I will miss the quiet intelligence of Zen Master Tom Huang, whose staunch support of photojournalism is a treasure for this newspaper. I remember, back in the heyday, going on assignment with him to the biggest BBQ festival in the nation in Memphis, Tennessee (well, I called it an assignment, the boss called it a "friggin' vacation").
After a few exquisite spring days covering good ol' boys partying to Southern rock on the beer-infested banks of the Mississippi, interviewing beautiful, wasted Scarlett O'Haras, and eating all parts of the pig and cow possible in the tastiest of ways, I noticed Tom had this blissed-out look on his face, punctuated by a subtle smile.
I asked what the matter was and he said: "I'm just not used to having fun on an assignment for the paper", a comment which seemed to justify the whole assignment to me.

Tom, I wish you were here now. This thing needs some editing.

Seen a lot of change here. When I first arrived, it wasn't too far away from the time when, if Metro needed an eye-burner feature photo, they would send the trusty Clint Grant to the zoo to grab an animal, bring him in the studio, then work with that chimpanzee or penguin or whatever til some magic happened to anchor the Metro cover. I am not making this up.

From black and white film to Kodachrome slides to color negatives to digital images and now HD video and frame-grabs, it all came to pass.

If I ever got down about the place, I would crank up the Springsteen between assignments, fast-forward the cassette to his third-most signature anthem "Badlands" with its uplifting chorus line: "Keep pushing til it's understood / And these badlands start treating us good." It seemed to cure the Belo Blues in that simplistic, unexplainable rock 'n' roll kind of way.

I've always found the photo dept to be an oasis of anarchistic, invigorating insanity within the rather buttoned-down walls of the DMN. Whenever an Observer story would come out with tales of our stuffy conservatism, I'd just scratch my head, remembering who hired belly dancers in the Dallas Life dept, or who made cheese nachos on the print dryers in the long-gone wet lab or just the vision of the tattooed Courtney Perry swing-dancing and laughing maniacally in the photo scanning room. I would wonder: what department are they talking about?

Photographers are much like drummers in a rock band. Somewhat crazy and unpredictable, a little Keith Moon is in every one of them. In the 70's, for those who remember, it might have been something in the fixer or ferrocyanide. Personalities, twisted humor and camaraderie always abound in photo. And the old farts there stay a bit young at heart.

I remember one stormy night falling off a ladder, breaking my ankle covering a protest. After the surgery the photo dept presented me with a framed, black-and-white crime-scene photo of the accident area, with my body drawn out on the sidewalk, surrounded by the very protestors I had been photographing and, of course, smiling members of the photo dept.

What could I say? That was a pretty thoughtful bunch of people, those photo friends of mine. I must admit the gesture did make the 23 pins and 2 metal plates hurt just a little less.

I really don't understand why photo departments seem to have the most gregarious, hilarious characters at a newspaper, but it's been that way for years at the DMN. John Rhodes could do stand-up. Melanie Burford, call Conan. Gerry, are you really Woody Allen? We have maintained that image while racking up multiple Pulitzers and gaining national recognition for serious work.

There were always surprises in this job.

Once, I went to a gentrified East Dallas neighborhood to shoot a fireplace. Just a stupid fireplace. The owner opened his door and a Doberman ran out to basically attack me. When I put my right hand out in defense, my Nikon took a slide down the arm, perfectly landing around the snarling dog's neck.

I just remember standing there speechless and helpless, watching the Doberman grinning real big, running down Swiss Ave. wearing my gift like a new necklace, the camera bouncing with large ugly clunks! on the concrete street.
How do you explain that to anybody much less your boss?

Or the time I sat on my walkie-talkie in my car and the entire newsroom gathered around to listen to an hour-long argument I was having with my wife, largely about choosing a Mexican food destination. Ouch. Double-ouch when Christie found out about the public broadcast.

Hurricane Allen, 1989. Record flooding everywhere. I was in a crowded National Guard helicopter. We landed in shallow water. I stepped out and it was like being dropped into the dead calm of the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Water as far as you could see, horizon to horizon. A steady stream of the elderly pouring out of a quaint schoolhouse, escorted by soldiers through the waters. It was an unforgettable scene. In waist-deep water, I took one step. The big fat diamondback rattlesnake swam by only inches away and suddenly my heart was pounding like a runaway locomotive.

I showed up one morning for work and was promptly handed an amateurish camera and told to get some gym clothes and go workout with Jane Fonda. What, excuse me? The class was private, the press was barred, and I was posing as an excited fan snapping a shot after the workout. I have to admit - the picture was exclusive, great idea.

I was lucky enough to experience print journalism when the cotton was high and this was a bad-ass newspaper firing on all cylinders. We were all living way above the cloud line. At that time the possibilities at this outfit seemed limitless.

I remember developing color negative film amidst the chemical fumes, wearing a stained lab apron, when the cylindrical darkroom door noisily swung around and managing editor Stu Wilk stuck his head in. "Randy," he said, " Do you like Simon and Garfunkel?"
"Yes, Stu," I said, "I like Simon and Garfunkel." "Do you remember their song ..." and then he started singing:
"... they've all gone to look for America ... ?"

Boom. A few days later, Allen Pusey and I were criss-crossing the nation, from East to West coast, asking folks where they were on November 22, 1963.
From meeting the girl who first dyed Roy Orbison's hair black to getting healed by the spirit of Pancho Villa, it's been great fun. I have no regrets.

And, with the hurricane wind that's been blowing through our industry, I thought I was prepared emotionally for this day, but you never really are.
As the great philosopher Mike Tyson once said: "Everybody has a plan til they get their teeth knocked out."

I felt somewhat that way last week, or at least similar to when the 6 foot 4 inch Rockwall tight end slammed into me on the sidelines a few years ago and I woke up on my back, eyes to the fuzzy heavens, with a hole through my lip where my camera eyepiece had punctured it. The football team's doctor pushed aside the concerned cheerleaders, leaned over me and said: "Listen, son, let's get you over to the bench.
We're gonna patch you up with some Super-Glue."

So, I'm looking for some Super-Glue now.

It hurts at first, being released into this fresh water, but I feel really lucky to have worked here with some measure of success. Especially compared to toiling your life away in a smelly petrochemical plant, the South Texas life I escaped from.

My tight-knit family in Pasadena never did really understand this job. My brothers, who worked all their lives in ship channel refineries or the prison system or the prison system known as public schools, would look at me with shock-and-awe when I told them I had just been hanging out all day with Willie Nelson, or trying to find the best swimming holes in Texas, or riding around in a hot air balloon or chasing a Mardi Gras parade or mixing it up with Elvis impersonators.

"What?!?!?" they would say, "You call that a job?"

Yup. The best job in the world. It's the first one I ever had some 34 years ago. And I will never forget it, this place and all the usual suspects. See you a little further down the road.

Randy Eli Grothe
randygrothe@gmail.com

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Hello all,

A week after the cuts, I finally feel like my head is screwed on straight enough to give a proper farewell (that is, farewell for now).

Thanks to everyone who has offered condolences, encouragement and assistance during this very difficult time. I am deeply appreciative. You have helped replace despair, uncertainty and even self-doubt with hope and optimism.

To those who are still devastated by last week: I hate to get cheesy with the glass-half-full metaphor, but sometimes a different perspective really helps. I was in a serious car crash three weeks ago, and the outcome would have been very different had I not been wearing a seat belt. Before the accident, I was already a bit of a wreck because I fretted the possibility of losing everything (i.e., my job). I thought journalism was my entire life. But that mentality changed after the accident. When you almost lose it all, you realize everything else from that moment forward is actually a bonus. Hopefully you don't need to get in a terrible wreck to feel the same way.

To both the DMN exes and remaining staffers: It takes an admirable level of commitment, passion and determination to stick it out this long in such a turbulent industry. Don't forget that. Jobs can disappear, but our common dedication to educating the public and doing what we do best is untouchable. And it will translate well to anything we do in the future.

I am truly honored and humbled to have worked with such remarkable colleagues and friends. I wish you all the best. Please keep in touch.

Holly Yan
HollyEYan@yahoo.com


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Though the ax has fallen on my head this go-round, too, i will always be glad for having had the opportunity to be a part of The Dallas Morning News.
And while it may sound like patting myself on the back, I can truly look back and know that while I felt lucky to be there, I also worked hard to stay. While I may not have walked away with any big journalism awards in my box, I could walk away knowing i did a good job.
In my time there I led the Metro coverage of the first Breeder's Cup race ever in the Southwest, I was the first to report on Farmers Branch's efforts to make illegal immigrants unwelcome there - a story that would put them in the national spotlight - and continued to top every other media outlet in the country in following that story over the next two years, and my reporting on a mayor's lies about her background derailed her bid for re-election.
Not bad for a small-town girl with no degree, lol.
I am proud to have been a part of what was long considered one of the best papers in the country, and to have known each and every one of you.
Today, i remain heartbroken to have been let go after 13 years with the company. I also am at a loss to explain it. Coming in from the old suburban newspapers I know my salary never reacherd those of many of my colleagues. So the didn't save much by letting me go.
But it is what it is, and it was time to move on.
I with all of you who remain the best of luck. i really don't expect newspapers to be around much longer, and that's the saddest part of all.
To those of you who were laid off, this time or previous times, I hope you find happiness and fulfillment and stability, whereever the road takes you.
Stephanie Sandoval

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As many of you know, I have a hard time saying goodbye. I am usually one of the last ones to leave a party and my “goodbyes” tend to turn into 20-minute long conversations. Perhaps, this is why it’s taken me a couple of days to collect my thoughts and say farewell to so many wonderful friends and colleagues, who are like family to me.

This week, after 12 and a half years in newspapers, I lost my job. People often asked me why I remained in newspapers or if I’d come up with a Plan B yet. My answer was always that I still believed in newspapers and still loved telling stories. I wanted to be part of the solution to keep newspapers alive – even if it meant that content would ultimately be entirely online.

Reading The Dallas Morning News and my hometown newspaper, the Waxahachie Daily Light, was a tradition, a habit in my family. My father, an immigrant from Mexico who spoke no English when he arrived, was curious about this country that everyone called the land of opportunity. He wanted to fit in like everyone else. He struggled with the language, but because of newspapers he learned new words. He would often point out words and ask me about their meaning. When I got older, he’d often ask if I’d read what Dallas or Waxahachie city officials had done or what a particular sports columnist thought about the Cowboys or Rangers.

When I returned to Texas in 2002, after spending more than six years in Florida, my parents were beyond thrilled. They would finally get to see and read their little girl’s stories. My mom sometimes knew where a story of mine ran before I did, because she’d seen the paper first that day.

My parents don’t have much formal education, don’t speak English that well and don’t have much money. But this they value: the importance of newspapers. I hope that my friends and colleagues who are left behind will remember there are many like my parents who still have a thirst for knowledge – regardless of their background.

On Tuesday, when I walked out of the DMN building, the moment seemed surreal. But I have no regrets. I am fortunate to have worked with so many talented people from whom I learned so much. It is truly an honor. I will miss you guys, but I won’t forget all of the valuable things you’ve taught me.

Keep up the great work!

Stella M. Chávez
starchavez@aol.com
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I'm gone and I will miss all of you more than I can say. It has been an honor to work with such clever and loving people. I believe in what we accomplished at the DMN and hope there is a future for all newspapers everywhere. I would appreciate any advice or leads you might know of. Natalie Caudill Natalie.Caudill@gmail.com

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I too have had the hammer fall on my head. I devoted myself to the newspaper biz and the Morning News. It has been an honor to work with so many talented and committed people in news. I appreciate the prayers and best wishes. I am 58 years old, a woman, single and have had a stroke. What now? Here is part of the breakdown: 6 off the news copy desk, all in their 50s except one; one off the news desk, 13 in sports; 2 in business; mostly zone reporters in metro; no one from TSW, national or international except a special writer. Where are the managers? God bless you all! Laura Miller, 15 years at DMN, 32 year career

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Thank all of you in The DMN newsroom for your words of support and encouragement this morning. It's the world's greatest understatement to say that it has been an honor to work with you.

I have learned so much from you during my two decades at The News. The talent and dedication in that room is amazing. Some of you, and you know who you are, have given help and understanding during many difficult times.

I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to work at a job that has allowed me to do so much with my life so far.

I'm still a little numb, knowing that for the first time in nearly 32 years I do not have a newspaper job.

But I will be fine. I have many good friends, a loving family and a partner whose unconditional love has indeed made me a better person. We will celebrate 21 years of being together next weekend.

My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

--Frank Trejo
Trejojr@aol.com

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Greetings all,

After nearly nine years of contributing all I have to the company in the sports department, I have become a statistic. I will miss being a sports writer and smiling at the compliments from those who read my work, but at the same time, I'm not overly upset.

It'll be tough, but I won't complain. I will start my master's program in educational technology this summer. In the meantime, I'm hoping to land a job with benefits just to help out around the house. I ask for all of your prayers in these dire times. Please pray for my family, and send up a financial prayer for all who have been RIFd.

God bless you all.

Damon L. Sayles
DLSayles@yahoo.com

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I’ve been saying for weeks that I would stick with this beloved profession until I was told to stop, and then I would figure out Plan B.

So, time for Plan B.

I grew up reading the Times Herald and Morning News. Seeing my byline in this newspaper was a dream come true. I feel privileged to have called you all colleagues and lucky to count so many of you as my friends.

Thanks for the warm wishes, loving support and righteous indignation on my behalf.

Please don’t be shy about sending the freelance and job leads.

Good luck to all who remain behind but especially to the amazingly talented crew of people walking out the door with me.

Cheers,
Beth Langton

(bethlangton (at) yahoo.com or find me on facebook)

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You can add my name to the list of those RIF'ed. Just reached my 12 year anniversary in sports. Not gonna bore everyone with a long, sappy farewell -- I trust that the people who have helped me along the way and have been my friends know how I feel about them.

I don't have any immediate plans, but I'm not sad, angry or panicky. I know there are worse things than losing a job. My wife and son are happy and healthy. My dad's having heart surgery today and my sister is about to give birth to my nephew - life goes on.

If anyone needs to reach me, I can be found on facebook and at keithwhitmire (at) sbcglobal.net.

Good luck to all,
Keith Whitmire

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At the moment, it’s hard to imagine work that’s as invigorating, as important and as much fun as being a journalist at a daily newspaper. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work alongside some of the best reporters, editors, photographers and designers in my years at the Morning News and the Star-Telegram, and I’ll always cherish the memories.

That said, tomorrow will be a new day, with new adventures. I’m looking forward to exploring them.

Here’s hoping that, for democracy’s sake if nothing else, the decision-makers in our industry figure out how to steer journalism through these icebergs safely. Meanwhile, my parting requests to you are that you never abandon the principles and passions that drew you to journalism and that you continue to be kind to each other.

Journalists are some of the smartest, funniest and most compassionate people I know. Please stay in touch. You can find me on Facebook.

All the best,
Mary McMullen Gladstone

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To my colleagues at SportsDay,

I had a dream last night that my house was invaded by a bear. It attacked me, but I fended it off with a banana. True story. So I woke up knowing that today would be an adventure, but that the ultimate outcome would be favorable and possibly humorous.

My thoughts are with those of you who have families, mortgages, and livelihoods to hold together. Our workplace was not without adversity, but we shared some special moments, and created one of the finest sections in the nation as well. I am proud to have worked with you, and honored to call you my friends.

There's no need for an Amber Alert this time; I'm not coming back!

Best wishes,

Bavand

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Nancy Moore posted a lovely farewell over on the Unfair Park blog.
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Most of you will not know me by name. I worked as a Photo Librarian for 9 years, 8 months and 3 days. I walked the hallways a lot and loved interacting with all the unusual characters that make up the News Department. I will miss being there more that I can possibly say. Thank you all being so generous in spirit.
Cris Miller
cris.miller@att.net
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I didn't want to comment on here yesterday for obvious reason. This has been the worst week of my life, and I haven't quite been able to understand it.

I don't understand the decision that were made. I wrote more than 450 stories and produced 70+ videos in 37 weeks, but it didn't save me from getting RIFed. My less than 40K salary didn't help me either.

Ironically, months before I was laid off, I was told that I was doing exactly what they wanted my position to do. I never heard any negative comments about my work.

I just don't understand.

I was hoping to make a year at the DMN, but I feel two months shy. I'll miss you all. I wish you all the best.

Sincerely,

Dan X. McGraw
danxmcgraw(at)gmail.com

1 comment:

  1. Stephanie SandovalApril 12, 2009 at 1:38 AM

    Though the ax has fallen on my head this go-round, too, i will always be glad for having had the opportunity to be a part of The Dallas Morning News.
    And while it may sound like patting myself on the back, I can truly look back and know that while I felt lucky to be there, I also worked hard to stay. While I may not have walked away with any big journalism awards in my box, I could walk away knowing i did a good job.
    In my time there I led the Metro coverage of the first Breeder's Cup race ever in the Southwest, I was the first to report on Farmers Branch's efforts to make illegal immigrants unwelcome there - a story that would put them in the national spotlight - and continued to top every other media outlet in the country in following that story over the next two years, and my reporting on a mayor's lies about her background derailed her bid for re-election.
    Not bad for a small-town girl with no degree, lol.
    I am proud to have been a part of what was long considered one of the best papers in the country, and to have known each and every one of you.
    Today, i remain heartbroken to have been let go after 13 years with the company. I also am at a loss to explain it. Coming in from the old suburban newspapers I know my salary never reacherd those of many of my colleagues. So the didn't save much by letting me go.
    But it is what it is, and it was time to move on.
    I with all of you who remain the best of luck. i really don't expect newspapers to be around much longer, and that's the saddest part of all.
    To those of you who were laid off, this time or previous times, I hope you find happiness and fulfillment and stability, whereever the road takes you.
    Stephanie Sandoval

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