Hello, everyone. With this first post, I’m off and running — slowly — in my role as a cub blogger. As you can see from the “about” page, I had a long career with The Kansas City Star, and I remain keenly interested in journalism. For almost all of my 37 years at The Star, I covered or edited local news. Correspondingly, I have long been a cheerleader for city and the metro area. While I was a reporter, of course, I couldn’t openly be a cheerleader — had to stay objective, you know — but I have always wanted my city and the Kansas City area as a whole to prosper.
So, in these posts, frequently you will find me commenting on civic, political and quality-of-life matters as they relate to the metro area, more often than not about Kansas City, where I have lived since I left my hometown of Louisville, KY, in 1969. Naturally, I’ll also be commenting on the newspaper business, which, as you are well aware, has atrophied significantly during the last two decades.
Ever since I started at The Star more than 40 years ago, there have been disgruntled former Star employees who have tried to make a living by bashing the paper. That began, to the best of my knowledge, with the late and legendary Tom Leathers and his Squire weekly and continues today with blogger and erstwhile Star entertainment columnist Hearne Christopher.
Fortunately, I was able to leave the paper on my own terms, before The Star (and many other newspapers) began laying off employees, so I have no ax to grind. I hope that you will find my observations about The Star and other papers, including The New York Times (to which I subscribe), to be reflective and acid free. The Star, along with many other major metropolitan papers, has fallen in terms of circulation, advertising, breadth of coverage and writing quality. Nevertheless, it continues to serve an important role in the region; it remains the biggest and best news-gathering organization in the metro area, and hundreds of thousands of readers rely on it as their primary information source. So, it is in the best interests of the Kansas City area that The Star at least stabilizes and, ideally, mounts a strong comeback, either as a print or electronic product, or both.
In these posts, I will try to avoid shooting from the hip and being pedantic. (If you think I veer into that, let me know.) Instead, I will try to bring personality and perspective to the writing. It takes an ego, of course, to throw your material out there for public consumption and say, so to speak, “Here, Kansas City, here’s your daily (or however often) dose of information and commentary that will make you smarter.” I don’t want to come off that way. I’ve been around long enough and had enough setbacks to know that I don’t know very much and that I’m not as smart as I once thought I was. But I do think I can write in entertaining and somewhat informative fashion. I hope you like it.
Finally, let me hear from you…And away we go!