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Goodbye, Knight Ridder

By RD Heldenfels Published: June 27, 2006

Not long ago we had our farewell to Knight Ridder, which ceases to exist today, with the Beacon Journal and other papers going to new owners.

I've been thinking about this moment and decided there were our a couple of things I didn't want to do. First of all, I'm not going to give you some speech about this moment and John S. Knight. It isn't that Knight was a flawed man who became a powerful symbol (not unlike broadcasting's Edward R. Murrow). It's that Knight had been dead a decade before I began working for the company bearing his name, so my connection is that I know people who knew Knight, and the company I worked for went through some un-Knightly turmoil.

I don't want to compare this to a death, especially a death in the family. It's a sad and painful moment, but lately I have seen people dealing with the death of people they loved, and this is not that. A newspaper, even a newspaper chain, is made up of thousands of living, breathing organisms -- I am one of them -- and we will be out showing what life and breath can achieve tomorrow.

In fact, thanks to a video and talk by the Beacon Journal's Doug Oplinger, today was inspiring. It reminded me of the noble work people do under often trying circumstances. It made me wish I had done a better job along the way -- and it made me hope I will do better tomorrow.

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