The only way to make sense out of change is plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. — Alan Watts
A few weeks back, staff writer Hannah Sayle left the Flyer to take a managing editor position at Minneapolis City Pages. Hannah had been with us for four years. She was a good reporter, and we miss her humor and enthusiastic profanity at staff meetings.
A week or so after Hannah announced her departure, our film and music editor, Chris Herrington, accepted a job as entertainment editor at The Commercial Appeal. Chris was with the Flyer for 13 years, winning several national awards for music and film criticism, and in his spare time creating the best local Grizzlies blog, “Beyond the Arc.” He was a hard-working triple threat, and left us with some big shoes to fill. Literally.
Now, in this issue, senior editor and City Beat columnist John Branston bids farewell, succumbing at last to the lure of big bucks on the professional squash circuit. I kid. He’s just changing gears, trying other directions. Read his final column on page 10 to get the straight dope. John had hundreds of connections and sources, a “no bullshit” attitude, and an old-fashioned reporter’s dogged persistence. We’ll miss the hell out of him.
So what are we going to do? Keep dancing, that’s what.
We’ve hired SBNation Grizzlies blogger Kevin Lipe to handle our Grizzlies coverage. Kevin’s a gifted writer with a droll sense of humor. You can find him at BeyondtheArc, starting this week.
Greg Akers, who reviews films for us while not editing our sister business publication, MBQ, takes over this week as Flyer film and television editor. He’s wicked smart and funny and knows a lot more about movies and TV than you do.
Joe Boone, who’s written about music for the Flyer and other publications for years, moves into the music editor slot, bringing a couple decades of hands-on experience as a Memphis musician and studio hand. He will, he will rock you.
We’ve also hired a couple of new columnists, who will alternate weeks. They are former “I Love Memphis” blogger Kerry Crawford and Fox 13 newsman Les Smith. Les’ first column will run next week; Kerry’s, the week after. I can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with.
Finally, we have hired Toby Sells as our newest staff reporter. Toby’s been reporting for The Commercial Appeal for the past four years. Prior to that, he wrote for the Memphis Business Journal. He is an excellent writer with deep sources in city and county government, and he likes beer. Should be a good fit.
So, yeah. We’re plunging into change here at the Flyer, saying farewell to former colleagues and friends, and welcoming some fresh voices and new energy. As the great poet Sonny Bono once wrote, “the beat goes on.”
Care to dance?
The U.S. Civil War ended in 1865, but there are many who will tell you that we're still fighting it and will find evidence of such in Jackson Baker's cover story about the current battle over General Nathan Bedford Forrest's statue and gravesite in Memphis ...