CITIZEN STAFFERS REMEMBERby Tucson Citizen on May. 16, 2009, under Local
Citizen Staff Report
THE FINAL EDITION
CITIZEN STAFFERS REMEMBER
This newsroom, since I arrived here in June of 2006, has always had great, great people. They’re pros; and they have always put the needs of the readers first. Tucson will be poorer for the newspaper’s folding because the loss of all that talent in one place.
My first job over 40 years ago was as a paperboy for the Tucson Citizen. I had a route that ran from First Street to 10th Street between Tucson Boulevard and Country Club.
In 1967 I got a job as a cub reporter for the Citizen and I ended up with the Pima County Board of Supervisors as part of my “beat.”
Covering Pima County back before the days of open meeting laws was a hoot. The three county supervisors would meet before the official meeting and decide the agenda. The guys let me in the room, but did not let my female counterpart from the Star inside. Being an afternoon paper with a deadline for the home delivery edition of noon, I’d often file my story about what the supervisors decided before the meeting was over, so the Citizen could beat the Star.
I got to experience the last days of the old-style newsroom. We used manual typewriters, and if the city desk didn’t like our copy, they’d wad it up and throw it back across the newsroom. The older reporters were grizzled guys with bottles of whiskey in their desk drawers. Nothing like the antiseptic cubicle newsrooms of today with glowing computer screens.
I didn’t last long at the Citizen after the night a military jet crashed into a supermarket on South Alvernon. In the midst of that chaos, I failed to get the names of a bunch of Air Force colonels who showed up the next day to inspect the smoking ruins who didn’t have their names on their jump suits, and Nellis Air Force Base (from whence they came) wouldn’t give up their names. So the paper had to run a picture with “5 unidentified colonels.” Officially I was told I “lacked a proper sense of immediacy.” So, off to law school I went to become a lawyer, a profession where immediacy is not a virtue.
Former staff member
In 2005, my brother, Dontia, was in his early 20s playing varsity tennis for San Diego State University, where he was set to graduate with a degree in psychology. Devastating news came during the late evening hours on Sept. 23: Dontia had been in a vehicle wreck that day and had passed. I left immediately for California. My family was not fully financially prepared for his passing and in speaking with my editor that week about requesting additional time off I told her about the difficulties my family was experiencing. That day, she informed the Tucson Citizen staff about the situation and the staff began collecting funds to help with the funeral expenses. Days later, the staff sent the funds to my parents. I have seen the Citizen staff do this with numerous others – whether it was for a newborn child or a devastating event. These are testimonies of what the Tucson Citizen family represent.
La Monica Everett-Haynes
Former staff member