OK, so I had to go back and change the headline on my last posting, which originally read, "You read it here first." Fact is, thestate.com beat me to it by a few minutes. I had mine written earlier, of course, but it took me a little too long to get back upstairs and change the item from "draft" to "publish." So I was scooped. But I suppose that’s as it should be.
But let’s see if I can accomplish another first — at least, a first for this blog. And that is to publish a video clip of the announcement down in the atrium. Let me know if it works when you try to call it up. The clip begins when Lou is starting to share his thoughts about The State as a newspaper, and the Midlands as a community. The joke about remodeling the basement in his honor is a reference to the recent flood damage, which has necessitated extensive renovation downstairs, a project that is still in progress.
In case the video doesn’t work (and as I write this, it seems that it’s still trying to load) here’s a still photo from roughly the same portion of the meeting. That’s Lou Heldman speaking front and center. At the left is Kathy Moreland, assistant to the publisher, and to the right is Paula Ellis, who is now a vice president with Knight Ridder. You may remember Paula from her days here in Columbia, where she served as managing editor, and later as an executive over several departments, including advertising. She then became publisher of The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News, before her move to San Jose.
Some brief comments about both Ann and Lou — which I plan to enlarge upon in a column for tomorrow’s paper (assuming I stop blogging long enough to write it):
Before Ann had to leave Monday to meet with folks in Charlotte, I popped into her office to tell her rather awkwardly that she’d been a great boss, and she would be missed. "Awkardly" because I don’t give praise easily — to peers, subordinates or bosses. I only managed it this time because it couldn’t be seen as sucking up, since she wasn’t going to be my boss any more, and I haven’t the slightest interest in ever working in Charlotte — or anywhere besides here, actually. Which reminds me — I think I forgot to congratulate her. (If I did so, it was so perfunctorily that I don’t recall.) My thoughts were running more along the lines of "Poor Ann, she has to go to Charlotte." But the fact is, this is a great opportunity for her — and a well-deserved promotion, given the size of her new paper.
I just got a call from someone in the editorial department of The Observer, wanting to know what she’s like to work with. I told them they couldn’t do better. She will be an active member of the editorial board, and will make her influence felt, but will by no means a dictator of editorial policy. She has worked really well within the consensus process we use for decision-making. The interactions we all had with her were well-grounded in mutual respect, and you can’t have a better situation than that.
Now I know I promised to share some reflections about Lou, but I’ve gotten behind now, and need to get started on that column for tomorrow — especially since my deadline is less than an hour off. So read the paper. I mean, do you expect me to give you everything free?