I am leaving journalism.
Probably not for good – it’s what I know and newsrooms are like crack – but I’ve accepted a position in the nonprofit sector.
I will be a prevention specialist in Wyoming, working toward awareness and action in suicide prevention, as well as drug, alcohol and tobacco suppression.
Go ahead and laugh, those who know me all too well.
But I think you’ve got to have experience to fight a good fight.
And I’ve got street-smarts. In spades.
I will use my communication skills to a new advantage – public speaking and setting up coalitions. Being an active participant in a community to enact change. It's exciting work, worthy work.
Besides, it’s a 40-hour-a-week gig, with a huge raise.
Meaning I will have time to write again.
Yes, write fiction.
Finally get that e-book of short stories out.
Get my life back.
At some point, I will move to Sheridan Wyo., where I will be based. I’ve already found a couple of lofts that look promising.
And I will be able to be a part of two communities, without being an interloper, a journalist looking from the outside in. I will be able to volunteer, have friends, without feeling like I can’t. Because when you’re a journalist, you are never really off. People are forever telling you conversations are off-the-record – even when you’re sitting at a bar.
And there’s always the chance you’ll have to write about someone. That limits the friendships you can forge.
A buddy of mine said a very nice thing recenty: “If guys like you leave journalism, we’re going to die.”
I need a break.
I still think community journalism will save the craft, the profession.
I just couldn’t make the current situation work. I, in my opinion, was never set up to succeed. Too many impediments to being truly great.
(And I love and adore my staff; we kicked ass – and took names.)
So I did something for myself.
The nonprofit gig is a one-year state contract, with no guarantee that I will get a second year. And that’s OK by me.
We’ll see how it goes.
And adjust later.