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You explained that you would soon start a new job as director of communications at the University of Kansas Medical Center, which isn't that much of a stretch because you've devoted much of your own reporting over the last year to issues involving public policy and health care, and the new job will allow you to focus those efforts. A couple of dim bulbs proceeded to say you'd gone corporate, but there's no use trying to correct them; if they don't know the difference between corporate and academic, that's their problem.
A journalist inevitably wears the scars of past mistakes. But as much as you respected longtime Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman, do not try to atone for yours as she did in her annual end-of-year "media culpa" columns, which she once described as a "ritual cleansing of the keyboard." Regurgitating regrets might make you feel better but, in reality, would only recommit the journalistic crimes. Seriously. Don't do it.
And don't hurt yourself trying to figure out your favorite Pitch stories over the years. People have asked, and the answer is almost always "this week's."
Avoid trying to determine the weirdest thing that has happened in the 10 years you've officially been in charge of this beast. Do not wonder out loud whatever became of the long rap poem — several single-spaced pages, as you remember it — delivered by someone apparently angry at something written by a music editor who shall not be named. The poem arrived at the front door accompanied by 30 or 40 pounds of raw meat — a calf-high pile of ground beef, T-bones, strips, shoulders and roasts. Someone around here took a picture of it, but don't try to track it down. Don't even mention this incident, lest you give readers other ideas about creatively nonviolent responses when someone inevitably writes something that pisses them off.
Refrain from suggesting where people will be able to find you around town, listing all of your hangouts as a way to express your love for the city. That might only jinx them. Remember, it was only a couple of weeks ago that you had to swallow lumps of disappointment as you edited a cover story about the cancellation of this year's Kansas City, Kansas, Street Blues Festival, your favorite weekend of the year. OK, it might be safe to go ahead and say you haven't given up hope for some of Kansas City's most sacred places. That you dream the Quindaro Ruins in Kansas City, Kansas — the long-gone town where slaves swimming across the Missouri River stepped ashore on free land — might someday be a fully realized national park and historic landmark. That the whole community might one day understand and lift up the remains of 18th and Vine. That Union Station might someday live up to the promise of its rehab.
As painful as some of the city's stories are, you feel privileged to have been able to tell them for the past 20 years. As you said in that Plog announcement last month: Even when Kansas Citians are at their worst, they're still pretty entertaining — and when they're at their best, they make their city and their world a better place for everyone.
You've been honored to work with an extraordinarily gifted group of people, sharing your various only-at-The Pitch experiences. And the new editor, Joe Tone, who starts in a couple of weeks, already knows that you're eager to see what he'll do with the place.