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TWT’s Curl Says Farewell

We told you earlier that TWT‘s Senior WH Correspondent Joe Curl submitted his resignation to Time‘s management this morning. Curl, a sixteen year veteran of the now troubled newspaper had this to say about his resignation in a note to friends and colleagues this afternoon.

“I started at The Washington Times in June 1994 (six months before Republicans took over the House via their “Contract With America” — weird that five months from now, the GOP may do it again, this time with the Tea Party’s “Contract From America”).

In that 16 years, I nurtured young Metro reporters, learned a thing or two from veteran National reporters, ran the newspaper at night for 18 months, and traveled to 67 countries and all 50 states with the President and the people who wanted to take his job.”

See the full farewell after the jump.

Colleagues and friends,

I started at The Washington Times in June 1994 (six months before Republicans took over the House via their “Contract With America” — weird that five months from now, the GOP may do it again, this time with the Tea Party’s “Contract From America”).

In that 16 years, I nurtured young Metro reporters, learned a thing or two from veteran National reporters, ran the newspaper at night for 18 months, and traveled to 67 countries and all 50 states with the President and the people who wanted to take his job.

Those first years were very different from the world today: Al Gore had not yet invented the Internet, and the backshop boys used pica poles to measure the copy before they waxed it up and stuck it on the flats. If you needed a phone number, you called 411. An old news clip? Try the microfiche in the library (anyone remember microfiche?).

The 16-year adventure started when a guy named Ken McIntyre, the old Metro editor, took a chance on a reporter then at a regional weekly, saving him from covering his third consecutive county fair (little did that reporter know the annual congressional budget appropriations process isn’t much different). On the Metro desk, I worked with Steve Crane (the best editor in Washington who isn’t editing copy daily), Vince “Motown” McGraw, and my longtime mentor, the late great Hank Pearson — the single greatest editor ever to have lived.

Then it was over to the national desk as an editor, and on to deputy national editor. There, I worked with the Yoda-like Ken Hanner, the even more chill Alan Bradford, and a host of other great editors, like John Solomon and Geoff Etnyre. The reporters were top-notch, too — still are: Paul Bedard, Warren Strobel, Jerry Seper, Rowen Scarborough, Billy Gertz, Ralph Z. Hallow, Donald Lambro, Cheryl Wetzstein, David Sands, Jennifer Harper, Audrey Hudson, S.A. Miller, Bill “Super Stretch” Sammon, Betsy Pisik, John McCaslin and one of the best reporters ever to stalk the halls of Congress or the wings of the White House, Stephen Dinan.

I had the help of great research guys who toiled away to make my stories better: The incredible John Sopko, along with John Haydon and Clark Eberly. Thanks for everything, guys. And thanks to the copy desk — Paddy Tuohy, Bill O’Brien and Cheryl Danehart especially — who took my stories all the way home. Thanks for changing “different than” to “different from” all those times (but letting me split some infinitives from time to time).

I was driven along my career path by Wes Pruden and Fran Coombs, who one day decided to move a pretty damn good editor into the White House beat, where he was immediately a pretty overwhelmed reporter. The learning curve was vertical, but they were patient and nurturing, and I hope they were eventually proud of their decision.

At the end, it was an honor to work with the best editor in Washington who IS editing copy daily — Chris Dolan. He knows a story from a mile away, sees what isn’t being written, and with a few well-placed edits can make a story sing (but he also had the poise and experience to say, once in a while, “perfect as written” and push the send button).

Others have just been helpful all along the way: Carleton Bryant, Lois Carlson, Ted Agres, Christine Reed — you all know who you are. Dealey — hardly got to know you! Woulda liked working with you.

But it’s time for me to go. Over my many years here, The Washington Times has had its moments of sublime greatness and its depths of despair. But there is one maxim TWT has always lived by; We stomp on the tundra.

The Times will rise again. Soon. Bet on it. And for those of you who remain or join up in the future, know that you have a legacy to live up to, a big one — go stomp the tundra.

Curl

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