Memo to self: Do not write a goodbye column.
In case you doubt the wisdom of this advice to yourself, go down to the basement and dig out the goodbye column you published in The Pitch in August 1998, when you were leaving Kansas City for a job as managing editor at Westword, Denver's legendary weekly. If you're brave enough to read it, you'll be struck by the melodramatic, aggressively neurotic ramblings of a much younger woman — one who was certain she was never coming back. But less than two years later, Westword's parent company bought The Pitch and sent you back east on Interstate 70. It's a move you've never regretted, but you've always felt silly about that goodbye column.
Resist the urge to respond to the Star columnist Barbara Shelly's comments about the unhappy end of Helen Thomas' career. The 89-year-old Thomas, who had covered the White House since the Kennedy years and who famously sat in her own front-row seat at press briefings, resigned in disgrace June 7 after saying that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and go back to Poland, Germany, America and elsewhere. "It's a sorry exit for a legendary newswoman who broke both barriers and stories," Shelly wrote on a Star blog last week. "Fortunate are those who know when it's time to bow out. That goes for athletes, politicians and trailblazing journalists. Thomas' behavior had grown increasingly strange in recent years. Pity she didn't write a definitive farewell column at some point and retire on better terms."
What the hell is "a definitive farewell column," anyway? Do not feel pressure to write such a thing. After all, part of the reason you're handing over The Pitch to a new editor is because, after nearly 20 years as a journalist in this town, you've pretty much said everything about the city that you want to say — for now, anyway. Writing a goodbye column at this point would just sound self-indulgent.
Besides, it's old news. You announced that you were leaving on The Pitch's news blog on May 17. Rehashing it would just make you want to lecture print-only readers about how they need to start hitting pitch.com every day. You know that many people still think of The Pitch as a weekly paper, one that has grown skinny in a bad economy. You want them to understand that we are in the midst of an inevitable technological transition, that there might always be a print version, but that The Pitch has long been a daily media outlet, with new information going up all the time on our news, food and music blogs. You're constantly boring people at dinner parties by harping about how, if they're reading us only in print, they're missing 80 percent of what we do.
There wasn't much to that blog announcement anyway. It was short and basic. "In a few weeks," you wrote, "we'll start throwing parties and probably getting all nostalgic as The Pitch marks a significant anniversary: In July, the paper turns 30. Myself, I'm quite a bit beyond that. And I'm wise enough to know when it's time to hand the baton to someone new. I've been editor of The Pitch for a decade now; before taking this job in 2000, I spent most of the '90s writing and editing for earlier incarnations of The Pitch and its competitors. It's time for me to do something else — and it's time for me to see what someone else can do with The Pitch."