Early this week, hoping to get a jump on the extended holiday weekend, I began pursuing the news wires for interesting commentaries to run on the opinion page in print and online.
A couple jumped out at me on Monday on the Tribune News Service wire. Based on their headlines, they looked promising for Thanksgiving, which was nice since readers might like a break from the normal political punditry.
Until I started reading them.
“Thanksgiving is coming soon, and I’ll admit I’m a little worried,” wrote one columnist. “Emotions are still running hot over the election, and it might get pretty tense around the table among my older relatives who voted for Donald Trump and the younger generation who voted for Hillary Clinton. I’ve already started canvassing the family to request tolerance and understanding, and I have plans for a giant ‘No Politics’ sign on the front door.”
Wrote another: “It’s the season of Thanksgiving, and I know this because my Facebook feed is filled with a daily dose of ‘What I’m Thankful for.’ I can’t read another trite, mind-numbing post. I just can’t do it. I love these folks, but come on — you can love your spouse and pumpkin spice only so much. Three years ago, to counter an influx of positivity, I started a List of Ingratitude.”
I decided to pass on both. The world needs another helping of grumpiness, twee irony, and anger like it needs a big sack of broken hammers.
So I decided to devote my column to an unabashed dose of sentimentality. Authentic thankfulness.
As our new president likes to say, what the Hell do I have to lose?
I’ll skip the personal stuff – you can take it as read that I am fond of my wife, my kids, friends, cute pets and all the rest – and skip on to the newspaper-related stuff.
First, I am grateful for this job. It’s one I had always wanted, right from the start of my career. But somewhere, in the twists and turns of personal life and the changing newspaper economy, I got lost. If you’d told me 10 years ago that I’d be the editor of a daily newspaper, any daily newspaper, I would have found the prospect highly improbable.
Second, I am grateful that there even IS such a job. The newspaper industry has taken it on the chin in the last 10 or 15 years and there have been plenty of pundits predicting the imminent demise of traditional newspapers. But somehow we’ve survived and things seem to be turning around somewhat, so actual physical newspapers appear to be here to stay.
Third, I am grateful to my staff. I, like all newspaper editors, have asked ever more from our employees as revenue declined and staffs shrank across the industry. They’ve held up admirably even under extraordinary circumstances (such as having our building smashed up by an earthquake). I have run out of superlatives to describe their can-do spirit.
Fourth, I am grateful for the advertisers who help make this possible. Gathering and publishing news is a fantastically expensive project and it would be hard to put the full cost on subscribers. Our advertisers allow us to offer our information to the public at a reasonable cost. (And I’ll not forget to thank our hardworking colleagues in the Register’s advertising division, who build and maintain the relationships with our local businesses).
Finally, I am grateful for our readers. All of you have stuck with us in one form or another over the years. I appreciate the kind words and advice we get. I appreciate those of you who read us every day, visit our website, check in on our mobile app, and join the discussion on our social media channels.
I even appreciate those of you who call or write to complain, criticize and correct – I take that as a sign that you care enough to be mad about some aspect of how we handle the paper. It’s certainly better than knowing you didn’t care at all.
Without you readers, I wouldn’t have all those other things to be thankful about.