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Are farewell columns self-serving?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by forever_town, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    A freelance writing gig I had for much of 2013 and 2014 came to an end in mid-November last year.

    In that gig, I wrote about everything from national news to sports to music to other stuff in between.

    I had a two-day window in which I could have written sort of a goodbye column if I chose to, but I decided not to because I felt it would be too self-serving.

    I made a similar decision six years prior when I lost my full-time newspaper gig, figuring that writing such a column would be more for me getting schmaltzy or venting spleen rather than for readers I figured probably didn't give a rat's tail about me as a person.

    Some farewell columns get praised in these parts, while some others get criticized.

    If there's a line between a farewell column that gets praised and one that gets vilified, where's the line? Or are goodbye columns all just a bunch of garbage that no reader really cares about?
     
  2. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    They are self-serving, but that doesn't mean they can't also serve the reader. I think it is worth doing if you had a column. You have been speaking to your readers and hopefully creating a connection with them, so it makes sense to say goodbye and offer them some closure as well.

    I thought about it with my last job and I think it would have made sense given the ties I created in that community, but I did not get the opportunity.

    What you should ask yourself is if you really have something worthwhile to say. If you do, then it deserves praise and damn the rest.
     
  3. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    The best ones tell a story. The worst are like acceptance speeches with a list of people being thanked.
     
  4. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    A two-year stay somewhere really doesn't merit one.
     
    Doc Holliday and JC like this.
  5. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    They're ridiculously self-serving and unnecessary 99.999999999 percent of the time.
     
    FileNotFound and jpetrie18 like this.
  6. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Just as with any column, it is the content that determines its merit.
     
  7. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    If you've been in a market over 20-25 years and you are well-known... and you weren't forced out the door (a rarity in this buyout/layoff/furlough obsessed business these days, IMO)... then yes, I'd say you could get away with one.

    Otherwise, I'm in agreement. Two or three years in a city? Meh.
     
  8. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    I worked 18 years at one paper with 10 as the SE. I wrote a standard preseason football column and tacked on a final few grafs that I was leaving. I didn't want to do 14 inches about me. Two seemed enough (that's what she said).
     
  9. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    I wrote one when I left my shop as SE after a 15 year stay, but I struggled with it for many of the reasons stated above. In the end, I decided to write it simply because I wanted to.
     
  10. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    I think it depends on a mixture of what your job is, how long you've been there and what your connection to the community you serve is. I hadn't planned on writing one for my first stop out of college, but I was asked to and happily did so, even though I was only there a year. At my current shop, if/when I leave, I'll write one because A) I'm a columnist, and B) I've been around here for most of the past decade and have gotten to know readers quite well. It would feel weird to not say goodbye to folks I care about.

    It all depends on the author and their situation.
     
    Doc Holliday likes this.
  11. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    Yes, they are self-serving -- and so is asking people if they're self-serving :)
     
  12. MeanGreenATO

    MeanGreenATO Member

    Self-serving, without a doubt.
     
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