In this week's final issue of the Los Angeles Garment & Citizen, founder and editor Jerry Sullivan completes the difficult last task of closing down a newspaper. "A lot of famous folks have said that they wouldn’t change a thing if they had it all to do over again," he writes in his final column. "I don’t think any of them ever had to shut down a community newspaper." He acknowledges some lessons learned, but his piece is more powerful for stating what he was trying to do with the Garment & Citizen by listing what he wouldn't change. Some samples:
I’d continue to acknowledge the fact that readers are smart....
I’d keep assuming that immigrants are part of our American culture—whether they’ve obtained citizenship or remain uncertain about taking that step.
I’d still speak truth to power in plain language on behalf of the community.
I’d still keep a civil tone in all matters.
I’d still receive whoever found their way to my office, and listen to their story even if their only point is to let someone know that they weren’t always in the shape they’re in today.
I’d continue to make ideas the heart of reporting.
The Garment & Citizen served with honor and distinct style. We developed a voice that reached our readers and earned a strong and unique connection with their lives. We reached rich, poor, working-class and middle-class individuals and families. We reached across ethnic and racial and religious lines. We reached them all—and called them a community.
Sullivan will read the piece Saturday at noon on John Rabe's Off-Ramp on KPCC, and it apparently will also be entered in the Congressional Record by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard. The last issue also includes a tribute to the Local Heroes feature that was a mainstay of the paper.