The news that a building where I once worked was damaged by fire upset me in more ways than I could have calculated.
Fire has damaged the Amarillo Globe-News building on the outskirts of downtown Amarillo, Texas. It is now vacant, a rotting hulk of a structure that contains a legendary inscription penned by a legendary journalist.
Gene Howe, the former publisher of the newspaper, once wrote: A newspaper may be forgiven for lack of wisdom but never for lack of courage.
The inscription is still there. The building’s inhabitants have vacated the place, having moved to an office suite in a 31-story bank tower around the corner and down the street.
That the building no longer serves as a beacon for good — if not great — journalism in the community is bad enough.
These days I am feeling more like a show-and-tell relic. A former colleague and a still-dear friend and I exchange messages earlier today. I informed her that my granddaughter might one day want me to stand before her classmates so she could tell them what her grandpa used to do for a living.
That likely won’t ever happen. First of all, I don’t even know if they have show and tell these days. Second of all, she might not yet fully comprehend the importance we used to attach to the craft we pursued, often with great joy and equal amounts of diligence and integrity.
Newspapers are becoming a relic of the past, as are those of us who used to fill those pages with words that sought to lend leadership and provide guidance to the communities we served.
The fire at the Globe-News building only reminds me of what used to be in that place. It saddens me at a level I am at this very moment still having trouble understanding.