A couple weeks ago I was walking out of work with a colleague.
"You know," the person said, "If someone in our newsroom got sick, nobody would help out, nobody would visit that person. It's not like the police or firemen who take care of their own. It's just not like that here."
Right now the daily newspaper industry is going through seismic changes. Storied newspapers that have served communities for decades, sometimes more than a century, have gone under. The reasons why are complicated and I don't want to write a treatise on the demise of daily newspapers. Save it for the media fellows in institutions and universities across the country.
We had another round of layoffs this week. The fourth, maybe fifth, round since I arrived.
It's been hard on everyone. Unified is not a word I would use to describe my newsroom.
Nearly two years ago I discovered the tumor in my testicle. Before we could conclusively say I had cancer, I had to go into the hospital to remove my testicle and wait for the results of the biopsy. The surgery had me laid out for two weeks.
At the time I had barely reached my eligibility for health care at the Arizona Daily Star. After all, I had been there about nine months. I didn't have much time accrued for sick days off.
So my colleagues -- reporters, editors, staff and even the publisher -- pooled their resources together and helped me out. People donated their sick days. The human resources staff tweaked my paperwork to make sure everything was covered by health care. People called. People wrote. People visited me. Gifts were sent.
Everyone helped me. There's a lot of people I still need to thank in person. There are people to which I will forever be grateful. Words will never be enough.
With all the changes in this industry and all the desperation at the Daily News, I started thinking about my friends at the Daily Star.
Thank you. Sincerely.
Thanks for helping me. And thank you, years later, for being an example of a newsroom that helps its own.