The recent sale of this newspaper triggered a contract clause allowing newsroom employees to take buyouts.
We’re losing 19 journalists this summer with 586 years of collective experience.
Many of those who left were quiet heroes: editors who pulled the jagged pieces together on stressful deadlines every night while taking calls from aggravated bosses and reporters.
Some departed were familiar Metro section bylines:
Jim Adams: A suburban cops reporter turned news forager in north suburbia. A decade or so ago, he seemed to work full time on stories about big jungle cats who had escaped their homes. He is a most speedy runner.
Laurie Blake: Covered transportation for years and loved writing about systems, then moved to the south metro bureau. Also the kind of friend who would return from lunch with a bouquet of flowers for a co-worker just because it was Thursday.
Curt Brown: A Macalester grad who couldn’t walk into a St. Paul coffee shop without seeing a friend. He started as a sports reporter in the era of Minnesota Vikings head coach Bud Grant and was proud to have been the first reporter to get former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman’s childhood nickname, “Doona” into print. He’s already left town to live the good life in Colorado.
Pat Doyle: A scrupulously accurate reporter’s reporter with a bone-dry sense of humor revealed only upon prodding. He turned up insightful news on his beats from state government to American Indian gambling to light-rail.
Paul Levy: A sports reporter turned features writer turned journeyman beat reporter. The fastest writer in town. He could write about anything with depth and panache. His reverence for Syracuse basketball will not be missed.
Bill McAuliffe: Embraced the quirky and the serious tales. In recent years, he became the weather guy. The bicyclist, grandpa and awesome bread baker could dish pointed humor with a gentle touch and a smile.
Mary Jane Smetanka: Keeper of the newsroom coffee club cash. The longtime higher-education reporter became a “Green Girl” and west metro maven in recent years. She can be found in her garden, living life without deadlines.
They will all be missed — at least until their replacements learn to bake.