Let's see. I've gotta get this right. "If you don't catch 'em with the lead," Tim Holt told us over and over again, "you've lost 'em." OK, folks. Here it is. Don't throw this paper away. This Final Edition is no ordinary fish wrap. One day it will be a collector's item. Only 15,500 copies have been printed. In a few years, it will probably be worth ten times what you paid for it. For, you see, this is "the last hurrah" for The Suttertown News which will soon become the third Sacramento institution in midtown, after Sam's Hofbrau and Newbert's Hardware, to close up shop.
This is also my last byline in a paper which has shamed the devil for nearly 19 years and has finally succumbed. The bubble gum has lost its "stick" and the baling wire is not quite as tightly wrapped as it used to be. The cost of doing business has finally caught up with us. But what will it really mean when Holt turns out the lights for the last time at 1731 L Street?
For me personally, it will mean at least 10-15 hours a week "extra" time and no more all nighters several times each month to meet Holt's deadlines. Recalling those few times when the City Council was my beat, there will be no more waiting in the Council press room for the last item on the agenda before rushing back to the newsroom at midnight to punch out a story which would then be typeset and laid out before being delivered to the printers at 6:00 a.m. And no more dashing to lunchtime interviews all over town or Editorial Board meetings at Java City or last minute calls to link up photographers with story subjects.
But wait a minute! That's exactly what attracted me and others to this paper in the first place. The late hours, deadlines, strong coffee and flying by the seat of your pants have made The Suttertown News what it is. Not to mention Holt's own organic pizza which he sometimes brought in for the production crew on Tuesday nights. And what about all those in-depth story opportunities Holt gave me, like getting down and funky in the city's sewers? Or doing the horse-pucky shuffle at the Plymouth Senior Rodeo? And who could match the Writers on Parade during the Midtown Street Fair each year? This is the stuff that hooked me.
You see, writers live to put words on paper, to go after a story that no one else has written or maybe even get a scoop. But who would ever read it unless it is packaged and published? This will be my last opportunity to thank everyone associated with the publication effort-the business, sales and production staff and the distributors and a special thanks to Tim Holt-for letting me tag along for the ride. You are a great team.
I would also like to thank our readers. It has been through your letters to The News that many of you have tipped us to stories yet unwritten and told us on occasion where to get off-both of which have been welcome feedback, I might add.
Will Suttertown's passing have an impact on the community at large? I think it will, if only in subtle ways. There will be one less thread in the city's fabric, one less opportunity for would-be writers to get the feel of the news business, one less burr in the saddle of the movers and shakers and policy makers whose decisions will affect all of our futures, one less reality check and, ultimately, one less paper to wrap fish in.
Of course it would give us some comfort if, in a week or two, we hear through the grapevine that The Suttertown News is missed around town and that the fish are the only ones that are the happier for it.
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