Thursday, December 18, 2008

'We few, we happy few' grew to too many at gathering of former Tennessean journalists

These words from Shakespeare's Henvy V came to heart and mind this evening in a gathering near West End for former Tennssean newsroom employees who have been forced from or chose to leave their profession of passion and purpose.

Their presence in such large numbers provided proof to the incredible brain drain of talent and experience that has gripped the newspaper in just a few years.

They knew Nashville before it major league; it was just a major force in entertaining a nation with music and maintaining a safe place to raise families.

They knew Nashville before all the outsiders came in to plunder her plenty with their big deals; it already was the Athens of the South, a place where mind mattered over matter and material possession first.

The list could go on. And you don't have to be a journalist to appreciate how the inexplicability of this situation has been re-summoned in workplaces across Tennessee and the country. The hurt, though well covered, still is there.

The hugs and toasting of glasses this evening were testament to all that has been lost, not only to good journalism in Nashville but readers who depended on our craft pursued along lines of excellence.

O, how the few, the happy few, became too many.

1 comment:

Al Cleveland said...

My apologies for the lateness of this comment. I have been out of town and did not hear of the events at The Tennessean until tonight.

I was asked recently by my inlaws if I missed the hectic life that I left upon retirement from the newspaper in October of 2007.

I answered honestly. Yes, I miss it every day. It had been the best vocation I had ever been associated with and I miss it dearly. These were the best people I ever worked with in my life. I only regret I could not go full-time into the profession.

Ms. Sandra Roberts gave me the best advice when I told her of my retirement plans: There is life outside the newsroom. Go make something of it.

It's a challenge, but that is good advice for all of us. I still miss the smell of ink and the rumble of the presses at 10 p.m. But I confess that I have mostly moved on. Time does heal wounds.

Good luck to all of you out there. You are always in my thoughts and prayers.

One of the worst/best moments of my post-Tennessean career came quite recently during a employee evaluation.

I was downgraded a number of points for "asking too many questions."

I wear that charge with pride...and I used it as a lesson for my young daughter.

She will not be a sheep...thanks to my Tennessean family (and that includes Duzak!)

Into the breech...