Citizen shaped me into who I am, who I will beby Paul Gallegos on May. 16, 2009, under Local
THE FINAL EDITION
I grew up with the Citizen – Dad would buy it on the way home from work, or we would have a subscription. It generally flip-flopped depending on what year it was.
When I got to high school at Salpointe (class of ’90), the Citizen was my go-to for daily events and for research papers for class. Looking back, reading the newspaper actually helped me improve my reading – I see that as I try to get my own kids to read more. Having a daily newspaper in the house helps considerably. I remember reading the John Jennings columns and thinking “How funny is that?”
I even ended up taking karate classes with his daughter for a while – never making the connection that she was HIS daughter until years later.
My first “real” (non-University of Arizona affiliated) job was at TNI Partners, now Tucson Newspapers. I was the one that converted everyone’s PC from running Windows 3.1 and TECS2 to Windows 95.
I was the one that helped Joel Rochon move into the 20th century with everyone getting an e-mail address @tucsoncitizen.com.
I spent countless hours upgrading computers, showing people how to surf the Web, showing people how to use e-mail as a tool and resource, and even occasionally going to reporters’ homes and setting up their home computers to dial in to azstarnet.
There were occasional “My computer crashed and I need to submit my story in 10 minutes!” cries for help. Near the end of my tenure in Tucson, I had gotten into the habit of hanging around in the newsroom about an hour before deadline JUST in case someone had an issue that needed immediate attention.
I got to see the inside of the Citizen, the inner workings, and I was completely impressed. When I walked into the Citizen, someone ALWAYS said “Hi.” Didn’t matter who, and it was usually someone different every day, but you got the feeling that the Citizen was a family.
I got to see the real innards of a newspaper and finally understood the impact that a newspaper has on a community.
Meeting Corky Simpson and Steve Rivera and having daily conversations with them about things OTHER than sports – that was always a trip.
My then-fiancee (and now wife of 12 years) ended up getting a job at the Citizen, working in the library with Jeannie Jett and Charlotte Kenan. She enjoyed going in to work, and she has always told me that leaving there was probably her biggest regret in her professional life.
She knew it wasn’t ever going to be the biggest paycheck in the world, but that was a place that she could do an honest day’s work and feel good about herself for it.
I always had hoped that my kids would be able to someday go back and visit and really understand, “Hey, Daddy and Mommy used to work here,” and I’ve made a couple of visits before with the kids (as babies). But now, sadly, I won’t get that chance anymore.
So, what has the Citizen meant to me? The Citizen is a huge part of my life – it arguably shaped the person I am today, both because of what was printed, and because of the people behind it. Not many people can say that, and I take pride in knowing I’m in select company. I wear my Tucson Citizen baseball cap with pride. It’s blue (same color as those vaunted letters on the front page), hasn’t faded much, but it’s a great reminder of what examples I need to set for my kids.