The news broke a little too late last night to make it into today's print edition — a coincidence, I'm sure — but Greensboro News & Record editor John Robinson, a veteran of almost 27 years at the paper, handed in his resignation yesterday.
It's big news around here.
I worked under JR, sort of, during my time at Triad Style and GoTriad; most of my contact with him came over the last seven years, through phone conversations, e-mail back-and-forths, and a few wisecracks on blogs and Facebook.
But I understand what he meant to the people working in the N&R newsroom: a reporter's editor, with old-school chops and an eye to the future of the business. I would bet money that he never got his hands on a story and made it worse. That's high praise in this business.
In my own trial by fire as an editor, when embroiled in a tricky situation, I often asked myself, "What would JR do?" To be fair, sometimes I would to the complete opposite thing. But even when I didn't understand his tactics or reactions, always I kept this fact in my mind: You don't get to be the editor of the News & Record by being a dumbass. I knew he always saw angles to a situation that I could not.
His last day as editor will be Dec. 2. As to the 'why' and 'how' of the matter: I have no details of the manner in which he resigned, know nothing about his plans for the future save what he has cryptically posted in his Facebook page, cannot begin to trace the conditions and impulses that led to this decision.
For those reasons, Robinson might say, this is a pretty crappy blog post. But I wanted to note the occasion, anyway, and try to pay a little tribute.
Good luck with whatever comes next, JR. It won't be the same without ya.