We’re everywhere, it seems.
Former News-Press staffers are scattered around Southwest Florida and beyond.
From the U. S. Army National Guard, where former reporter Jim Greenhill is now a sergeant first class.
To world traveling former staff photographer Valerie Roche, who is now teaching in, I believe, Kuwait.
A former sports department colleague of mine named Paul Harris is an editor at Hockey Weekly in Detroit.
What inspired this blog topic is a story in today’s News-Press about former Chico’s employees finding new careers after leaving that company.
Casey Logan did a crackerjack job finding, interviewing and writing about those folks. I have the print edition next to me at the moment in the south Fort Myers Starbucks across from the Bell Tower Shops.
A brief Facebook conversation ensued yesterday about the irony of The News-Press doing a story about people from a prominent local company re-inventing themselves.
That same focus could be turned on The News-Press and its legions of ex-employees. The local landscape is littered with hundreds of them, all doing something other than writing, editing, taking photos, selling ads and operating the presses and other tasks for a daily paper.
I’m qualified to write on the subject. I’m one of them, a former News-Presser. I accepted a buyout offer in 2012 after working at the paper for 25 years, mainly as a sportswriter.
I often bump into many former colleagues in my travels around the area as a freelance writer.
Former reporter Jen Reed is a senior writer and editor at Gulfshore Business. I see Jen frequently at another Starbucks, sitting in a corner, hard at work on a magazine project.
I hesitate to bother her and say hello but usually venture into her corner office to ask how she and her husband, Ed, and their two daughters are doing. But I do. Pester her for a couple of minutes, that is.
We’re everywhere. …
In my role as vice president of the Southwest Florida Historical Society I stopped by WGCU on Thursday to tape segments for its Radio Reading Service for the blind. While there I popped in Mike Donlan’s office.
Mike, a former graphics wizard at The News-Press, is now an adjunct professor at FGCU and designs WGCU’s Expressions magazine. Sometimes I’m tempted to refer to him as Turkey Mike but I think he would take it the wrong way.
That’s nothing against him but yet another example of my hopeless seamhead nature. A “seamhead” is a baseball nut. And Turkey Mike Donlin, a different spelling of the last name, played big-league baseball from 1899 to 1914.
The baseball Mike Donlin was also known as “Highlonesome.” I just refer to the graphics wizard as Mike.
Mike’s wife, Francesca, is another ex-News-Press success story, landing the job of director of communications for the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau.
Lee County employs other former News-Press employees, including one long-ago colleague of mine from the sports department, Betsy Clayton. Betsy is now the county’s communications director. Former reporter Tim Engstrom works in her department as a communications specialist.
I could go on and on and on. …
This blog post, by the way, is not meant to be definitive but merely a sampler of updates.
One place bursting with former News-Press people is Florida Weekly, which was launched, as I understand the story, by three former employees, Jeff Cull, Pason Gaddis and Jim Dickerson.
I’m scheduled to be the Florida Weekly office Thursday morning to proof pages of a project it is planning to run soon.
Kathy Grey, as most of you know, was the paper’s Charlotte County editor for seven years, launching that edition and making it a vibrant part of the community. She left in the spring and is now, like me, working as a freelancer.
When I walk in Florida Weekly’s office on Thursday I’ll see other News-Press people. It’s nearly a reunion every time I stop by.
Cindy Pierce is the Naples editor and Betty Wells is now the Fort Myers editor. I may see former copy editor Debbie Gibson in the office on Thursday.
Graphic artists Eric Raddatz and Scott Sleeper, two other former News-Presser, are now at Florida Weekly.
We’re everywhere. …
Stephanie Davis wasn’t a fulltime News-Press employee but for many years she wrote the popular Downtown Diva column for the paper. She now writes for Florida Weekly.
As does former News-Press reporter Roger Williams.
So many. …
When I stopped by FGCU the other day and said hello to Turkey Mike Donlin, I mean Mike Donlan, I was hoping to also say hello to Dayna Harpster, who works in that building.
But Dayna, who is editor of WGCU’s Expressions magazine, was not in the office that morning.
Oh, we’re scattered far and wide.
Former sports department colleague Deron Snyder is a sports columnist for the Washington Times.
In my last gig at The News-Press I spent about 18 months writing features and lifestyles out of the Bonita Springs office, where I sat next to Amy Sowder.
We have nothing in common. I’m a grizzled former sports writer with the fashion sense of a, well, a sports writer. Amy is an elegant young woman with an interest in fashion and food.
But we got along famously, writing different types of features for a section called Coastal Life.
Amy now lives in Brooklyn and writes about food and fitness.
I could go on and on. …
Don Manley lives on Marco Island and is a freelancer and has acted in community theater productions down there.
Karen Feldman McCracken is associate director of publications at FGCU.
That’s enough for now. I can’t mention everybody and I don’t know everybody.
This blog post is now nearly 1,000 words. I try keeping posts to fewer than 1,000 words. So I’ll wrap it up now with this;
There is life after The News-Press.