Working at an alt-weekly is a rollercoaster ride.
There are days and pockets of time when everything is going right, when the work barely feels like work, when a wild amount of high-end content gets produced by a skeleton-crew staff.
But when it rains, it generally pours.
Ownership changes, staff overhauls, a pandemic, tightened advertiser budgets, a lack of resources, confusion, unpredictable bean counters being unpredictable bean counters — it’s all a formula to make difficult storms fall upon an editorial staff.
The strangest part is that the last few years have been a pretty even mixture at LEO: There was a lot of incredible work by the award-winning staff, and there were also some of the toughest times I’ve seen during my career in journalism.
But, that volatility sometimes means knowing when it’s time to go, and after eight years with the publication, I’ll be stepping away from the paper on Jan. 19 (although I hope to still contribute some freelance writing).
To be clear: I’m burned out, but I also have a lot of faith in the future of LEO. The next EIC, Erica Rucker — who has been a part of LEO for a long time — absolutely has the vision and experience to evolve LEO. I’m looking forward to being a fan.
So, in my final editor’s note, I just wanted to send out some thank-you notes.
1) To everyone I’ve ever worked with at LEO: thank you for your talent, your passion, your brilliant work, the laughs and pushing me to learn every day. I’ve watched both staffers and freelancers think up and execute some really thoughtful stories. For a long time, I’ve always said that the staff at LEO punches above its weight and exceeds the sums of its parts — as it also did before my time here — and that takes some serious hunger and sacrifice from a lot of people to do. For that, I’m super grateful.
And to all of the journalists at other outlets in the city: you’ve always inspired me in the same way.
2) To the city of Louisville: thank you for being full of interesting and creative people, unique places, a criminally underrated arts and music scene and the drive to be different. The city and state — like almost everywhere else — both have a laundry list of problems and some shitty politicians, but there are a lot of good people, a lot of delightfully weird people and a lot of ambitious people who are doing cool things. After living here for almost a decade, there’s no place I’d rather be.
3) To the readers: thank you for your time, your support and sometimes your anger. By picking up the paper and/or clicking on our website, you sustain the publication. Sometimes you have praised us, other times you have challenged us to be better, and both of those reactions have ultimately made us better.
And one last reminder: It’s a tough time for journalism, so pick up the print edition of LEO every chance you get; if you like a story, share it on social media; if you have a restaurant, bar, shop, etc. that you want to get the word out about, advertise.
A strong alt-weekly is an important part of a community. Protect this one. •
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