About a year ago, I left the business desk of the Deseret News after more than six years as business editor. I was ready for a change, and I have since moved on to new jobs and challenges at the paper.
But the business section still has a special place in my heart.
When I started at the News 10 years ago, I was a business reporter. I eventually became an assistant editor for the section and then served in other capacities around the newsroom before returning as business editor.
Which is why last week's news that the business section was going to be reduced in size and moved inside the A section has been hard for me to take.
I admit that I'm not sad to see the stock page eliminated. I know some readers love having stocks in the paper, and I'm sure they will miss the listings. (At least I don't have to worry about taking those calls!) But there are many options for stock information these days, and the Internet including the deseretnews.com Web site is a far more up-to-date source of stock quotes.
Still, losing the stand-alone nature of the section is hard to contemplate. For the editors and reporters who have worked over the years to build the paper's business coverage, it's almost like there's been a death in the family.
And that has me doing some bittersweet reminiscing.
Longtime readers will remember Max Knudson, the wonderful wordsmith who led the section for so many years. No one has turned a phrase on these pages like Max did. He was an excellent reporter, with unparalleled sources, and his quick wit and unique style came through in his prose. His locally produced auto reviews were a Friday highlight for years.
We've missed Max since he retired at the end of 2001. He set the stage for much of what followed.
And what followed was unique in my experience as a newspaper reporter or editor: a period of six years in which the same small group of people worked together on the same section.
Brice Wallace is still on the business desk, covering economic development and other news of the day, all while keeping an eye on local corporations' earnings and activities.
Jenifer Nii, who left in 2007 for a corporate communications job, covered the seemingly never-ending feud between banks and credit unions, among many, many other things.
Dave Anderton, who also left last year and landed in a public relations job, was all over the state's burgeoning bankruptcy rate and housing boom.
We had a great time working together, and we loved feeling like we were putting out a section that was read and enjoyed by businessmen and consumers, CEOs and homemakers.
These are the thoughts that ran through my mind after last week's announcement. Memories of playing hooky for an afternoon every now and then to go to a movie as a staff. Memories of begging Dave to finish his story before deadline. Memories of Brice making me laugh until I cried. Memories of Jenifer exclaiming "Shut UP!" when confronted with shocking information. Memories of Max zipping around the newsroom on a scooter on Friday afternoons.
The business section isn't going away. The top-notch reporters who have been covering commerce since I left the biz desk are going to keep up their excellent work, and I'm sure the new business pages in the A section will be a great read every day. I hope our business reporters will continue to have your support and attention.
I know I will still enjoy their work, even as I regret the economic necessities that led to these changes.
Change is, after all, part of business. And I guess those of us who have covered business should know that better than anyone.
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