AMARILLO, Texas — I wish I had taken a picture of this building Tuesday when I drove past it en route to a meeting with a friend.
For some reason, I didn’t think to snap it with my smarty-pants cell phone. This building is where I used to work for nearly 18 years. I had a blast here for most of that time.
The sign you see on the front of this iconic structure is gone. It’s been peeled off by the newspaper’s owners, GateHouse Media, which purchased the newspaper from Morris Communications in October 2017. GateHouse has vacated the building and relocated its gutted news/editorial and advertising staff to a bank tower a few blocks away.
I won’t talk about that.
I came to work at this building in January 1995. An opportunity presented itself with an opening that occurred on the editorial page staff. I interviewed with the publisher in late 1994. He called me a few days after the interview and offered me the job.
I arrived a few weeks later and thought I had died and gone to heaven. I inherited a fine staff of two editorial writers, an administrative assistant and a part-time editorial cartoonist.
We published two newspapers back then: the morning Amarillo Daily News and the afternoon Amarillo Globe-Times. I also inherited a legacy of journalistic excellence, as the Globe-Times was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service in 1961. The late legendary editor Tommy Thompson had uncovered corruption at county government and revealed it to the community. The Pulitzer board thought enough of that work to bestow print journalism’s highest honor.
We published separate editorials those days in each newspaper. We ran separate syndicated columns. Letters to the editor were submitted exclusively to either the morning or the afternoon papers.
We had a talented staff of writers and thinkers then. Our administrative assistant was a premier gatekeeper and a marvelous editor of the letters we received from readers. She had this inherent ability to make the correspondents’ words sing — without changing their intent.
Those were the days. I got asked on my most recent visit to the Texas Panhandle if I “missed working” at the newspaper. My response was candid: I would miss it only if that work had remained as it was when I first got here. It didn’t.
Oh, but what a ride it was!