Institutional memory

Sounds like a disease. And for some in the newspaper business, it is; but it’s a good one to have. I’m talking about the people who have seen it all and can remind you of it, especially when you’re headed in the wrong direction. I was reminded of it when I was talking to a reporter about the departure of longtime editor Phil Drake. His memory of what we covered (or didn’t cover) in the past helped in making stories richer and more complete. An editor who has been here for ten years wouldn’t make the same mistakes that I do. Whether it’s noticing that northwest Pasadena has seen similar problems in the past or that Irwindale may be able to teach a lesson to Industry in the building, or not building, of an NFL stadium. New reporters, new copyeditors, new editors, new whatever. You can overcome it. But when history leaves the room smoking a cigar and taking his dog, it hurts the paper more than most would ever know.

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One Response to Institutional memory

  1. anonymus says:

    You sure are right. When genuine, good people are treated with disrespect and basically forced to leave without regard for their knowledge, their intimacy with the community and their leadership and good nature, the money-saving in the now will come and bite in the future. Much could be said about the other senior editor that “retired” in Whittier, but us old folks in the community, who are in tune with what happens around us, know the real inside story, sad, but true. Sometimes, a revolving door can spin around fast enough to hit us in the “A.”

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