Last night, a group of us said goodbye to 3825 S. Higuera St., The SLO Tribune‘s bright and airy newsroom building with rare tall windows and rows of cubicles that were once our second home. The offices are moving to another, smaller location in town. I don’t have all the stats, but I think our newsroom had around 200 employees at one point – and now there’s 30. This is the reality of our times as advertisers continue to shift their dollars toward online content and away from print (and printing jobs).
For a long time, much of my identity was wrapped up in this newroom. I left it in 2015 and parted ways officially two years later. But it’s one of those places you never truly leave. Even when it leaves us.
The Tribune had been in its custom-designed building for 25 years. I was there for some of them – and they will always be with me.
But this building, located on SLO’s more industrial southside, was so much more than just some place that housed employees.
It was the place of late nights and daily deadlines and the oddly comforting buzz of the police scanner.
The place of election nights (with pizza) and compiling stories of tragedy and community and inspiration. The place of good friends, delightfully weird friends (us journalists are pretty kooky), and just sh*t tons of coffee.
The place of lunch breaks at Trader’s, morning walks to Starbucks and freakouts over mice in our snack drawers, crickets under the desk, and yes, even a little flapping bat in the rafters.
The place where sources shared stories: confiding in us, yelling at us. Finding the right words night after night to tell stories truthfully and in interesting ways.
The place of getting caught up in the tragedies of breaking news and triple-checking the spelling of people’s names so they’re not printed incorrectly (people hate that).
It was the place that had a news side, an advertising side, a circulation side, a full printing press in the back, and even a pre-press room to boot.
It was …
the place to be.
So it was sad saying goodbye to this building. Again. But even more so, to accept the change. The finality of it.
Goodbye, South Higuera building. You were a good one!
Ps. This post reflects the past but newsrooms throughout the country continue to do good work today. That’s a never-changing truth: journalists work their butts off for their readers. They care. Like, really really care. And everyone should support their local newspaper. I still do.
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