Shelly Leachman left the Daily Breeze last Thursday, and with it her career in newspapers (including a stint at the Santa Barbara News-Press in the Wendy McCaw meltdown years.) She's heading to an advertising agency. Leachman sent around a Dear Journalism email that says "I think you really have some issues you need to work through before you can expect anyone to commit to you long term."
I'm leaving you. Today. Please don't be upset. It's for the best. You'll see.
We've had a good ride, you and me. It's been a memorable dozen years:
From that first job I landed at the Paradise Post, where I took over for the schools reporter who'd been fired on the spot when his name was discovered among the worst offenders on the then-new Megan's Law list; to working the overnight shift at San Francisco's Bay City News wire service, where the building's scotch-drunk but sweet-as-pie security guard would regularly check in on me and once found me asleep on the floor but promised not to tell my boss; to the Santa Barbara News-Press, where, well, we both know how that went.
(Honestly, I'm still trying to forgive you for that whole Wendy McCaw thing. I know it wasn't your fault, per se, and that she, much like Glenn Close to Harrison Ford in "Fatal Attraction," just won't leave you no matter how hard you push, but wow, I wish you would kick her to the curb already. Jeez, Journalism, how many proverbial bunnies have to be boiled before you find a way to get rid of her? When you do figure it out, you might wanna swoop up that Sam Zell guy and send him packing too. He seems a little nuts. Just sayin.)
Um, that was Michael Douglas in "Fatal Attraction." She continues with the Daily Breeze and, then, the end:
And finally our relationship brought us to the Daily Breeze, where our romance crescendoed. We shared a remarkable experience covering a family being throttled by tragedy when their son was killed in Iraq. We incited national scrutiny of one local school district -- and inspired their enduring hatred of us (high five!) -- with our stories about a sex offender allowed to volunteer in a kindergarten class. We were trusted enough to once write an entire story in Dr. Seuss-style verse.
The topper: We enjoyed a wonderfully sarcastic, warm and talented group of colleagues, who rallied together when big news broke; gasped together over the rampant idiocy among comment-posters to our Web site; laughed together over the inevitable and ever-priceless "I hate you" messages from outraged readers (many of whom I suspect don't actually read); and amassed an impressive collection of Janice Hahn holiday cards.
So you see, it's not that you haven't been good to me, Journalism. For all the inspiration and knowledge and exhilaration and pleasure and - - I hate to invoke Oprah, but -- the many "ah-ha" moments you have given me, I love you still and always will. But in the immortal words of the prophet that is Shania Twain: Baby, sometimes love just ain't enough.
This whole ad agency thing, I didn't go looking for it. I swear. I didn't plan it. It just happened. It found me and something just clicked. And I couldn't say no. I hope you can understand.
Who knows? If this thing we've had is truly meant to be, maybe we'll be reunited one day. It's just that for now, I need see what else is out there.
Also, Journalism, I think you really have some issues you need to work through before you can expect anyone to commit to you long term.
And so this is goodbye. For now, at least. But I'd really like to be friends. I mean it. If you're up for that, and when you're ready, you can always reach me at [email.]