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The comeback kid

On May 4 one year ago, I walked into the newsroom of The Baltimore Sun and took a seat at the news desk, back after an absence of twelve months. It took a little while to acknowledge all the congratulations before I could get down to work,* but the pace has been steady ever since.

It has been a year of night content production at the paragraph factory, along with repatriating this blog and inflicting video barroom jokes on the public. Editing is just as necessary, and gratifying, as it was before (though I will admit—and this is the hell of it—editing, like cutting diamonds or piloting a riverboat on the Mississippi, has to be done stone cold sober).

It is a new world, with its emphasis on getting stories online fast and following up more deliberately in print, exploiting the possibilities of video and engaging with readers through social media in a way that would have been unimaginable a decade ago.

Well, newspapers have difficulty imagining anything different from The Way We’ve Always Done It, but the halting steps newspapers are taking seem to be going somewhere. Print circulation continues to decline as the generations with the lifelong newspaper habit proceed to that farther shore where the circulation department does not reach—though home delivery is up 1.6 percent on Sundays.** But both audience and revenue online have been expanding.

So this is a day to be grateful: for a return to useful, collegial work; for the new ground to explore in journalism; for Mary Corey and Trif Alatzas, who run the news operation here and offer support and encouragement; and for you, the readers who stayed with me in the transition to the personal version of You Don’t Say and the reverse transition back here, and also those who have come aboard during these past twelve months. There are many more of you than I ever hear from, but I know that you’re out there.


*I assume that the person who sent me the anonymous gloating you’ll-never-get-a-job-again-and-end-up-eating-dog-food letter when I was laid off a year previously was not elated over the development, but just about everyone else seemed pleased.

**Take that, you Scum Paper people.



Posted by John McIntyre at 9:37 AM | | Comments (9)


Congratulations on surviving yet another year of the old grind.

But isn't dog food really rather expensive?

Somehow one doesn't expect sound economic advice from the authors of poison pen letters.

I wish I could "like" that comment, Mr. Mc. It made me laugh out loud at my desk. Congratulations at your anniversary!

Dog food is expensive, and nutritous enough if nothing else is available. At least, that's what I learned form watching the second Mad Max movie when Mel Gibson ate the dog food and then handed the empty can to his dog to lick clean.

I enjoy the commentary and discussion so much that I do not notice the shaggy dog jokes that come with it.

Thank you.

I remember that day one year ago well. I was teary about your return to the profession for which you are clearly so brilliantly suited. I had worried about you, as I'd gotten to know you in the previous year or so through your writing in exile, and few signs of an improving economy heartened me more than your return to full time employment. The evident joy you have taken in that return continues to warm my heart.

I imagine that as the writer of a blog, one does not necessarily imagine that one's readers feel so emotionally connected to one. But they do; or at least, I do. Long may you edit. Long may you thrive.

Melissa Jane,

Well said, dear lady.

I echo you heartfelt sentiments entirely. Couldn't have stated it any better.

Indeed, though most bloggers never, or perhaps very rarely meet directly, face-to-face, or in-the- flesh w/ one another, as it were, still, if one at least has half an empathetic heart, a curious, fairly open mind, and a true gift-of-the-gab, we committed regular bloggers, over time, do really develop emotional connections w/ some (but not all HA!) of our online brethren. No real shame, or weirdness in that. IMO, it's all good. And our astute blogmeister, Prof. McI., is no exception.

Melissa, I commend you for your complete candor, as I too relish many more bountiful seasons of Mr. McIntyre opening up our collective minds, and hearts w/ his eloquence, common decency, intelligence, buoyant spirit, and sharply-honed wit.

(Although, if the truth be told, frankly, some of John's "jokes-of-week" can be real groaners. HA!)


P.S. --I'm kind of blushing right now. My second of two Captcha words ended in ".....tit".
I'm not blushing so much because it's a mildly naught, slangy word designating part of the female anatomy, but more so because it's the name of a a few species of tiny, fidgety birds, as in "bushtit" and "tufted titmouse". As an avid birder (bird-watcher for the uninitiated), I tend to blush easily. What can I say? So when I say I saw a couple of "tits" in the woods today, please, don't jump to just any old conclusion. Let's just say for the record, I'm no peeping Tom. I leave the peeping, and twittering, for that matter, to the baby birdies. HA!

McIntyre, you just keep doing what you do so darn well, and let the boofheads try to snipe at you. They haven't got a clue...

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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