Earlier today, Mr. Jim Leusner chose to leave a goodbye note in the comment section. It was void of bitterness and condemnation toward the "new" paper, but still (to me at least) spoke of the responsibility of the paper. It seems when the paper fulfilled its responsibility it was a good deal for employees and the community. So, in the spirit of those times, I re-post Mr. Leusner's sentiments.
*If all this makes you wanna gag, because you believe the paper is dying because it has become a liberal publication... then I share this with you simply because Mr. Leusner was regarded one of the best investigative reporters at the paper. So, even if we do not completely agree with his views they should be respected enough to be fully heard.
From Mr. Leusner:
Friends and colleagues:
As you know, today (7/31) is my last day after nearly 30 years at the Orlando Sentinel. I want to thank all of you for being my professional family during that time. What a great run it’s been during the golden era of journalism, the post-Watergate period.
After I was hired here as a 23-year-old in early 1979, I was lucky to meet up with several incredible journalists who helped teach me the ropes. Paul Jenkins, Malcolm Williams, Jim Toner and Jim Squires all shared their vast knowledge or reporting techniques with me, which I have tried to share on stories and special projects or at my Sentinel Newsroom University classes over the years.
I was fortunate to work on so many great stories involving all kinds of subjects: mobsters, bikers, bad cops, serial killers, spies, militias, space shuttle disasters, defense contractors, terrorism/homeland security, corrupt politicians, greedy developers and the pioneers of International Drive. I learned something new every day and got to do interviews at the White House, CIA headquarters, aboard radar planes flying around the Caribbean or on Death Row.
Working with so many other talented Sentinel reporters also taught me a lot. They included: Roger Roy, Dan Tracy, Chris Quinn, Debbie Salamone, Mike Griffin, Sean Holton, Hank Curtis, Pedro Ruz, Tammy Lytle, Anthony Colarossi, Kevin Spear and many others, including the current members of the Breaking News Team.
I was blessed to have worked under the BEST line editors in the company -- Jenkins, Toner, Holton, Gary Gorman, Sal Recchi, Ann Hellmuth, Bob Shaw, Greg Miller and Michelle Guido. So many folks on the copy desk also made my stories better. The graphics folks, page designers and photographers helped illustrate those stories so well. I am grateful to all of them.
To be clear, leaving is my choice. I narrowly missed a buyout last year, but jumped at the chance for a severance package this year so I could go into business for myself after more than 31 years as a reporter.
Despite the rough waters our industry is navigating, you guys need to remember that the work you do is so vital to the democracy -- and history. It's made a difference to many people like my late dad, who educated himself reading the paper -- after dropping out of grade school -- to help his family during the Great Depression.
I wish all of you the best. My thoughts will be with you.
And if this note is too long, at least I was consistent during my Sentinel career!
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