In retrospect, the writing was on the wall. It was written in black light pen; invisible to the naked eye, but jaw-droppingly obvious when illuminated. As put by one of my colleagues during post-severance drinks, “If you didn’t see this coming, you shouldn’t be working in news.”
So there’s that.
Selfishly, this went about as well as I could have imagined, but I truly do feel badly for the editors, writers, designers and marketers who labored to make The Daily a great foray into the future of journalism. There are many speculations why it may have failed, and there were certainly flaws — the Atlantic points out that the publication was built in a weak economy in a failing journalism market, and that it never found a streamlined way of sharing via social media — but at its best, it was a refreshing read that both liberals and conservatives accused it of slanting the other way. That says, if nothing else, it was a pretty balanced publication. Yes, our editorial lean was to the right, but you can’t refute that our reporting went both ways. From an inside perspective, I can say without reticence, that each and every one of the reporters who worked there was accountable, accomplished, ambitious and downright genuine.
I’d say for a first job, it couldn’t have been much better.
I was not fired, nor did I sit there and contribute useless nothings to the publication. I had cover stories, and I broke news. I came in the Wednesday morning after the Dark Knight Rises theater shooting. I arrived shortly after the Manhattan man shot his boss just outside of the Empire State building. I learned that it’s “preventive,” not “preventative,” from an incensed reader email. I was accused to inhumanity for a story I wrote about a great white shark taking bait in South Africa, because the reader thought I had not only written, but also taken the photographs in South Africa (I wish).
The Daily was not your typical newsroom. It was not old journalism. White shirts, rolled up sleeves and ties, balding and overweight. It was streamlined, colorful, hip — unfocused. A wonderful place to work, but it could never quite break itself into the mainstream the way it had intended.
I feel as though I’m beginning to tread the line. Dare I say something that offends or gets me in trouble. Regardless, I bid a fond adieu to that place, which will cease to publish a week from Saturday.
Shortly, this badge will be a relic of a bygone time. And hopefully the last one that spells my name incorrectly.
Til next time — I have a feeling I will be contributing here more frequently in the near future.