This. It’s a miserable and rainy Monday morning. Here we are in the midst of a global pandemic known as COVID19 or coronavirus, and one of my most favorite, true, and steady voices of local journalism has announced his retirement.
I am just super bummed. Phil Heron thank you for everything and your friendship. I know why this makes me sad. Phil is an old school paper and ink newspaper guy. “Stop the presses.” (Only I don’t know if Phil ever said that!) These are our heroes of local journalism.
As a citizen journalist (well we bloggers are called that even if some of you don’t like that term), true journalists don’t always give you the time of day. Phil Heron is one of those newspaper guys who always has had the time. A true professional in his industry.
I got to know Phil in part not just because of my community activism days back with the original Save Ardmore Coalition over issues including eminent domain, and when the billboards saga started in Bryn Mawr, Haverford Township. I also have to say my friend, the late Tom Murray, another true paper and ink newspaper guy, deserve credit here. Tom liked connecting people.
Phil will still be around, but it’s still sad because our local journalistic voices just become fewer and fewer. How can they not when they are bought by hedge funds and venture capitalists who don’t actually give a damn about local journalism, local issues? Phil for example has also been a leading voice on the pipeline issue. Local editors and local journalists give our issues voices, they help amplify our own personal voices.
If you missed the note I tacked on to the bottom of today’s Letter From the Editor, allow me to make a personal note. It’s the column I always dreaded writing. Because it’s the last one.
After nearly 38 years, this will be my last week at the Daily Times. I started in 1982. June 14, Flag Day, to be exact.
I will write more about it later this week, but since the word was leaking out there already, I figured I would get ahead of the curve and formally announce here in The Heron’s Nest as well. This is my decision, at least in part. It’s probably not the way I envisioned it, but it is time. I’m not quite sure how to wrap up 38 years, but above all else what I will remember is the people – both those I worked with every day, and those loyal readers who picked up the newspaper every day, or who now visit the website.
So Phil Heron, I wish you well in retirement, and God knows you have earned it. But I think the future of local journalism got a little more grey today.
Support local and regional journalism. Please.