I planned to die of old age while writing a newspaper column. I wanted to be sitting in a newsroom amidst a bunch of journalists and keel over dead at my desk.Life is rarely Plan A. It is rarely even Plan B.
After 32 years in newspapers, I was shown the door of The Denver Post newsroom in June 2007 during a downsizing. Since then, I have written columns co-published on a website I started and Colorado Confidential. This is my last column.
I have taken a job as the communications director of the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine and, as such, can no longer publicly offer personal opinions on issues that might hurt the school.
While I’m out of journalism, I plan to use whatever reporting and writing skills I learned to support an institution that helps ease human suffering. It is a charge much different but every bit as critical as contributing to a free press.
My thanks go to everyone who found, read and responded to my online columns the past seven months. My thanks go especially to those who read and reacted to my writing in the newspaper the three decades before that. It was never about agreeing on issues so much as it was caring about them.
The fight for responsible fact-finding and analysis has never been more important than it is in the Internet age. I hope every one, friend or foe, continues to engage in acquiring the information needed to contribute constructively to the civic debate.
I thank those who debated so passionately in the comments section of SpencerSpeaks and wish them luck finding another forum to keep the discussion going. Bringing various voices into a community colloquy represents the real promise of the Internet.
I thank every source who took the time to talk as I tried to base my analysis and opinions on knowledge instead of knee jerks.
Finally, I thank every colleague who inspired me and every editor who hired me – including the one who fired me.
War, health care, human rights, economics, terrorism, religion, science, poverty, pollution and plain old human compassion will provide fodder for future generations of journalists.
As for me, I exit Eden sadly but proudly and hope that my new plan takes me to a place I love just as much.