I think I’ve written this a thousand times in my head but never put it to paper. So many photojournalists have written about their departure from newspapers and have written more eloquently than I’m able to muster. To be honest, I’m leaving for many of those same reasons, but the way I got to this point will always be my story. Plus, how do I summarize 20 years at the Burlington Free Press? Yes, 20, ok fine, off and on for 20.
My first job in life was delivering the Burlington Free Press door-to-door with my brother, Todd. Every morning before the sunrise and the school bus, Todd and I carried our bundles and quietly delivered the day’s news to our neighbors. Nobody remembers how heavy newspapers used to be better than me. Sundays slayed. Through snow, rain, sleet and mosquitoes the newspaper not only hit the doorstep, it was tucked between storm doors and laid upon kitchen counters. Some customers preferred we use a provided basket, others said to leave the paper by the back stoop in the breezeway. We had two days off each year: birthday and Christmas. Our parents would take over the task and allow us to sleep in. I’ll never forget being confronted on the school bus one morning about my black eye. “Did something happen on the playground?” the driver asked. No, it was the newsprint ink left behind after wiping my tired eyes awake.
I was an ink-stained wretch (thanks Rob) before I knew what that meant. My love for stories started on those early morning walks squinting through darkness to read the headlines. I liked knowing the news first, before all my neighbors. Our newspaper route was later turned into a motor route and I was off to high school. I tried my hand at selling the Burlington Free Press subscription door-to-door, but that lasted only four hours. I preferred to be behind the stories. I then wrote a column, The Edge, that localized national stories to the local teen audience. Once a week I’d sit at a Burlington Free Press desk calling in interviews and learning that a slug was more than a slimy single-celled organism. I caught the bug and off to journalism school I went.
Here I am saying farewell after 6.5 years at the Burlington Free Press. It’s been an incredible experience through extreme highs and lows. The things I’ve seen, the moments witnessed and the truly, truly incredible people I’ve met through my stories have forever changed the trajectory of my life. While most of the posts on my site are about the subjects of my stories, today’s will be about the people behind the news: the reporters.
When I decided last year that I was going to leave the industry I started memorializing my time at the Burlington Free Press the best way I knew how: pictures. I snuck candids as the reporters feverishly wrote in their notepads or listened intently during an interview. I take pictures of everything in my life, but I realized last year I took so few of the people behind-the-scenes. So, here they are doing what they do best as the most dogged crew of journalists I’ve come to know.
To see the entire gallery click HERE. I’ve even found a few moments from the archives. So long Freep and farewell! I’ll be around digging into stories and continuing all those projects that keep me moving. For now, I’ll sign off with this last gem because Glenn, dammit, I’m going to miss you the most. I don’t think you realized but between all those quips, dirty jokes and bits of sarcasm you shared an incredible depth of knowledge with me and I am forever grateful. See you later buddy.