Balancing act: Loss and change are painful, in life and business
I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about loss and change.
These are not my favorite topics.
People who know me best — my wife, my parents, close friends at work, even my young children — will tell you I'm not a person who likes change in my personal life.
In fact, they'd probably tell you I do my best to avoid it.
That makes my choice of career strange, I know. The news business is defined by change. Every day brings different stories that need to be covered in different ways.
And just when you think you've got a handle on a particular day in the newsroom, something will happen — a tornado in downtown Salt Lake City, a terrorist attack in New York, the admission of scandal by a lawmaker, the slaying of a police officer — that forces you to throw all of your best-laid plans into the recycling bin.
It's hard to adjust when that happens, but when the adrenaline starts pumping, we jump to it. At the Deseret News, we've always excelled at reacting quickly to breaking news and covering it like a blanket. It's one of our greatest strengths.
We've talked about this as editors and reporters, and we've attributed our quick reaction time in part to the culture we developed when we were an afternoon newspaper, pushing hard during the morning hours to give our readers fresh news to peruse after work.
I suggest that our success should be attributed even more to the skills of a group of dedicated, talented, hard-working journalists who always know how to deal with change, adapt to it and wrestle it into submission.
Well, now we've got about all of the change we can handle, right here in our own newsroom.
Which brings me to the topic of loss.
My wife's grandmother, Jessie Johnson, died last Friday and will be laid to rest today. She was an amazing woman, a strong matriarch if ever there was one, quick with a smile and defined by her love of family. I've seen new great-grandbabies melt into her arms as she cradled and cooed to them. And I've heard tales of her defending her grandson — my brother-in-law — with the ferocity of a lion.
Her life was filled with change and loss. Anyone who lives nearly 90 years will see her share of both. But no matter what happened, she faced the future with strength and energy, determined to thrive and help her family do the same.
I've wept several times during the last few days as I've thought about her loss and mourned with her family.
As I have done so, my thoughts have turned often to many dear friends and colleagues who no longer will chase the stories of a changing world at the Deseret News.
I miss Grandma Jessie. And I'll miss my friends.
But even as I do, I know that now is the time, once again, to feel that adrenaline pumping and jump to it. As we create something new at the Deseret News and deseretnews.com, we'll strive to build on our heritage of excellence. We'll adapt. We'll change.
After all, the Deseret News has been around for 160 years. Any company that survives that long will see its share of both change and loss. Our job now is to face the future with strength and energy, determined to thrive and help our readers do the same.
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