Albuquerque Tribune buyer backs out

My favorite newspaper exists on life support tonight after its apparent last hope for recovery dried up.

The Albuquerque Tribune has been on notice since Aug. 28 that it would have to sell or close. The only offer to buy it was withdrawn today. The last step is for the Department of Justice to sign off on the closure of the joint operating agreement with the city's morning daily.

What a shame. The city will be less without the Trib. It was a lively, joyous, audacious publication that never slept. People launched great journalism careers from there. Others built great journalism careers right in place.

Those of us who ever had the chance to work there are grateful. The Trib made us not only better journalists but also clearer thinkers, better writers, harder workers, tougher fighters, shrewder listeners, sharper watchdogs, committed teammates and better people. The owners can close the doors, but they can't take that away. Oh, no, they can't take that away...

It probably seems like we're overly sentimental about The Trib. That's OK. Everyone who's ever worked there gets it. We know why it mattered for so long and matters still. You had to be there.

The Afternoon Newspaper That Could represented the best of journalism persisting in the face of the toughest challenges. For 25 years it looked over its shoulder every day, expecting the worst but flat refusing to stop. Right this minute, it exists beyond its scheduled firing-squad dates of October, then December. The dwindling staff has done what newspaper staffs do: publish a high-quality newspaper every day, doing the best they can with available resources. Which are fewer all the time.

Now, after months of being dicked around by private and corporate interests, operating with little information and even less help, they're finally out of resources, patience, luck and time.

Many staffers have left for other jobs or other industries. No one blames them. The future of newspaper journalism isn't glittering with opportunity.

Those who stayed deserve medals. Those who held them together with pep talks, chewing gum and baling wire the last few months deserve gold stars in heaven. They're exhausted. They're magnificent. They deserved better.

1 comment:

  1. A sad time, indeed. We can all be grateful for the talented folks who cut their teeth at The Tribune whose work we still enjoy today.
    Great post. Good luck to all the fine folks in Albuquerque. We feel your pain.