Wednesday, April 06, 2016
Kim Hone-McMahan's BJ farewell column
Kim Hone-McMahan, who retired April 5 after 35 years with the BJ, wrote a magnificent farewell column.
It doesn’t need any embellishment by me.
Columnist is proud to have worked with fine journalists
I retired Tuesday. Whoopee! Yahoo! Cool beans! … I’m nervous.
It’s understandable after 35 years in one profession to feel uneasy about hanging up my hat — especially a career that I loved so much. A job that allowed me to see the best, and of course the worst, in people.
It was a privilege, though regretfully so, to bring you stories about things like a riot at the Lucasville prison; Hurricane Katrina; serial killers Jeffrey Dahmer and Thomas Dillon; domestic violence allegations against a police chief; and the turbulent tenure of former Akron School Superintendent Terry Grier.
But in the end, it is those who have done so much — and have been through so much — that inspired me the most. People like a woman who was sprayed with nitric acid by her former husband; a little girl whose spine was severed by her first adoptive family after arriving here from Russia; and dozens of families who have lost loved ones to heroin and narcotic painkillers.
They have taught me about compassion and perseverance at times when it would have been easy to believe there was no hope.
I was fortunate to report on the World Series in 1995. Remember those days when Cleveland came oh, so close? And I was thrilled to tell you about many of the extraordinary folks in our area who give of themselves to help others.
You lifted me up during my darkest hour following the sudden death of my 23-yearold daughter, Brooke, who died in her sleep during a seizure. For this and so many other reasons — thank you. It’s not enough, I know, but sometimes there are just no words grand enough.
It’s popular to beat up on the media these days. Journalists are often targets for those looking to blame someone for the ills of humanity. But that’s silly — and they don’t know the folks that bring you the news like I do.
Newspapers across the nation have suffered because of the popularity of the Internet. As a result, there are fewer working newspaper journalists to bring you the news. Frankly, there is not enough money in the coffers to replace my column, though your stories will continue to be told as only your daily paper can tell them.
While there are countless websites touting the news, most are not mainstream news organizations. Their reports are often biased, made up, or simply wrong. So, while newspapers continue to cut back and reporters pick up jobs doing something other than what they were trained to do, it’s open season for folks like some politicians and others who need to be watched. Watchdog journalism is getting less and less affordable — and, ultimately, that is very bad for all of us.
What I can tell you — and please keep in mind that I am no longer employed by the Beacon Journal — is the journalists there are among the most talented in the United States. All you have to do is pick up a newspaper while you are traveling and that will become quickly apparent.
While other organizations profess to be your best source of news locally, no other organization can tell you what is happening in your neighborhood better. Even with cuts in the newsroom, the paper has more reporters than any local radio or television station.
That, folks, is the reason to continue to support the Beacon Journal. It is with great pride that I have been permitted to work for an organization with such fine journalists. Saying that, please visit my Facebook page (Kim Hone-McMahan).
There, I will share stories written by my talented former colleagues and will continue to encourage you to engage in lively discussions.
Again, thank you for the privilege of coming into your homes. It has been an honor.