Bad attitudes don't help bad situations. The assistant editor was thrown into a bad situation but part of the problem was his personality. He was a deplorable person, which he admitted. He once called a meeting with three of us reporters to say we are the worse staff members ever. Morale had already been low, and he made it worse by insinuating we all were about to be fired (did I mention this was on my birthday). Yet when you asked for specific details of what we did wrong he couldn’t pinpoint them (sounds familiar). Ultimately the assistant editor was the one let go, and a new editor came in. Finally I would have the leadership, consistency and training I craved. Or so I thought. I was wrong. I thought things would change, and they did in some areas, but they stayed the same in too many others.
The new editor had a much better personality. And he had a vision for the newsroom and the newspaper, or so he said. None of us really learned what it was. Perhaps it had something to do with sensational stories. No meetings ever happened. Half the time we ran like chickens with our heads cut off trying to figure what was going in the paper. Eventually I got fed up and switched careers. I now coordinate a high school mentoring program
It’s been a little over a year since I left working at the newspaper, and I don’t miss. I still write here and there, and a few articles have appeared with my byline. One day soon I want to branch into freelancing. But it has to be with the write publication. Sometimes I wonder if maybe I didn’t have what it takes to truly be a reporter. I think it just depended on the area. Looking back I thrived more so with feature and news-feature writing. Not everyone is meant to be a hard news reporter. My internship in college was with a features department. My second editor also leaned toward features. However my last editor didn’t like features at all.
Parade magazine featured an interview from Lloyd Carr, former University of Michigan Football head coach. He was asked, “When is the right moment to leave a great job?” Carr said “When you love it and can still walk away from it.” I took those words to heart and have the quote sitting in my office. Sometimes you have to know when it’s time to go.