Roll On, Bremerton, Roll On

It’s been a hoot, Bremerton.

Call it “laid off,” a “reduction in force,” or “involuntary separation,” I will be leaving the Kitsap Sun. My reign of terror will be complete Dec. 31.

Lay-offs are the way of the world, like sinus infections, and I am the reporter of least seniority.

When I first heard the term “laid off,” it sounded fun. Imagine my disappointment. While better than being fired or finding your place of employment boarded up and the owner missing, losing a job is hard on a person, and hard on a spouse.

The bright side is that only one reporter is being cut, and it’s Binion!

The dark side, of course, is that I’m Binion.

It’s been some comfort that so many other workers are getting RIF’d, having their life force reduced. Then again, it makes it so much scarier.

As for your fearful reporter, I’m moving to Seattle, back in with the love of my life. There I’ll barricade myself in our apartment, stockpile powdered milk and arm myself to the teeth.

Despite the grim forecasts, I remain optimistic on the outside. I’m young, sort of, and I have two useless journalism degrees plus five years of daily newspaper experience. Beyond the storm clouds the sun is shining. I will have no problem landing a gig in fast-food, call centers or welfare fraud.

The new year will bring with it many changes at the Kitsap Sun, and ace political reporter Steve Gardner and other Sun staffers will inherit the privilege of writing about Bremerton life and government. The Paris of Kitsap County will be in capable hands.

The Bremerton Beat, this blog, will revert to a more natural, feral state, with multiple staff members offering posts. The invitation for community members to make contributions still stands.

I want to extend my most sincere gratitude to all of you, Bremerton Beat readers. We killed some time.

Writing for a blog has given me the chance to experiment, fail, expand my horizons and fail. I will miss lying awake at night, fretting about the voice mails in the morning, grinding my teeth and saying to myself, “This time you’ve gone too far.”

And, just so you know, I think you guys are way funnier than me. I wish I could name all of you, give you the credit you deserve, but, after all, I’m an envious snot.

Keep it real. Don’t fake the funk. Represent to the fullest.

-Andy

28 thoughts on “Roll On, Bremerton, Roll On

  1. Best of luck to you Andrew. It has been a real pleasure knowing you. You made a significant contribution to this community and my son Nick will never forget that you were to first reporter to interview him for a story.

    No matter where your work or travels take you, Bremerton will never really rub off….the smell will fade in a few weeks…but sorry to say the stain is forever…Just kidding…kinda!

    Colleen Smidt

  2. Andy…I can’t tell you how sorry I am. Guess I did.
    And, if you must be a ‘dude’ as your #2 Andy fan called you, you are one funny dude.
    I have to admit some of the cute stuff went right over my head…but based on other responses, I was the only one… everybody else ‘got it’
    I hope you spend your apartment time writing a book about… anything. Bloggers? Cycling in Bremerton?
    You are a gifted writer, Andy… and have the neatest perspective and different way of looking at things that at times impacted my point of view.
    Best wishes from one of your greatest fans.
    Sharon O’Hara
    PS: We can start an official Andy Fan Club now. You have a bright future ahead of you and I nominate Karen as Chair and me as one of your loudest fans and member of your Cheering Squad.
    HAPPY NEW YEAR 2009 and on into a super tomorrow!
    Sharon

  3. I still think there is room for free lance work in local areas preselling stories which wouldn’t get done by the “powers that be”

    I’ve got a couple of ideas about that we could talk about!

  4. Dude. That sucks… Sorry to hear this…. and welcome to the “club”.
    I hope things turn around for all of us.. soon.
    Good luck. We will miss you.

  5. What Jake said.

    Steven Gardner
    The guy who sits next to Andy Tuesdays through Fridays

    P.S. Andy, you still owe me a dollar.

  6. Oh, I dunno, Nikky. There’s too many hipsters over here. That’s never been a problem in good ol’ Bremerton.

    Andy, it’s been a treat to read your work. If you’re ever in Ravenna, we can go to Third Place Books, get some coffee, and stare at the rain together. Beats watching the powdered milk supply.

    Fair winds and following seas, Mr. Binion.

  7. It’s disappointing to see a young and up and comer get the ax. Your articles were always on point and the Beat has been hysterical. Best of luck Andy.

  8. Just like Bremerton to screw up one of the best things we have. Hope they don’t bring in a new reporter from Bellevue.

    Thanks Andrew for your screwy, offbeat, humorous and often frightenly realistic look at Bremerton.

    We will miss not only you and the Beat, but the people we have come to know on this site. Best of luck to you whereever you land, and if the oportunity arises to come back, I sure hope you grab it!

  9. Best of Luck to you Andy. I found you to be a fair and accurate reporter.

    I don’t know about the rest of the Council, but I’ll miss you.

  10. Andy’s #1 fan here:

    WHAT????? Has the world stopped turning? It’s the time for yule I hear and the one thing I wanted St. Nick to bring yours truly was more Binion!!! This is worse than living in Port Orchard!!!

    Andrew – I have really enjoyed your blog – you’re the best! I am so bummed and I will miss reading your stories. Best of luck!

    By the way, I hope when you say that you are moving in with the love of your life, that you are talking about powdered milk….

  11. I just wrote a letter to the editor:

    I do not personally know Andrew Binion but I have become a fan of his by reading his work in the Kitsap Sun newspaper and the KitsapSun.com. I know that the dead tree flesh based news publications is in a definite period of recession, transition and distress in the modern 21st century world on instant news and 24/256 news cycles industry wide shift only to add to the post-George Bush world-wide recession/depression can be frighting but Andrew Binion has been a shining light in his effort to make it in the professional news world. I can honestly say that as a citizen of Kitsap County that we need dedicated journalists and writers like him to tell us the truth about us as a people. I know that there is a reality of “First hired First Fired” but I personally think that he is a talented journalist and I know through his work that he personally believes in the honesty of the work that he has been doing. I have not ever considered subscribing to the dead tree flesh edition of the Kitsap Sun before but I am a dedicated reader of the online edition. But I say to you the editors and the readers of this fine and historic publication. We need people like Andrew to carry the flame of public journalism here and I only hope that there is a future for him in our community with your great paper. If you change your decision to dismiss him I will subscribe to the paper publication of the Kitsap Sun and I will never cancel it for as long as he writes for your fine publication. Kitsap needs a future that believes in honest journalism and we need dedicated honest people like Andrew to deliver us the truth. Please don’t let him go.

  12. I am just saying that if you don’t want to loose hard working honest dedicated jornalists like Andrew now is the time to write his bosses and let them know that his writing is important to you!

  13. Binion here:

    I really appreciate all the kind words, I really do, it means a lot to me. And if my mom ever figures out how to use to Internet and reads this, it will mean a lot to her too. But I have to say that it is embarrassing, and at least somewhat undeserved.

    I posted Jake’s comment, despite reservations, because if the shoe had been on the other foot and he was demanding I be fired that would be posted. And as I said before, I appreciate it.

    But …

    1 – You should subscribe to your local paper, the Sun or otherwise, no matter what. These cuts, which are happening across the country, are because my generation and my parents’ generation aren’t subscribing to their local paper. Think about the world your children and grandchildren will inherit when the only news they can get is Entertainment Tonight and ESPN. Papers need your support, and they are vital to a free society.

    2 – The reporters at the Sun are the best group of journalists I have ever worked with. They are amazing. I’m a skeptic when it comes to contests/awards. Nix that, I think they are a farce. But when you consider the sheer volume of awards this staff earns, there can be no doubt of their talent and commitment. To be honest, I question whether I’m qualified to call them “colleagues” and not “sir” and “ma’am.” I have no doubt that the quality of the Sun will not significantly impacted with my departure.

    3 – I’m proud to work for a union shop. This is my first union newsroom, I’ve been in several non-union shops, and let me tell you, it’s night and day. Union papers attract better journalists and managers, journalists are treated better at union shops, and union papers produce better journalism. Part of being in a union is obeying the rules in the contract. It’s not up to the editors who gets cut, it’s written into the contract, a contract I voted to support. I have the least seniority, that’s the rules.

    4 – I would be aghast if another reporter here lost their job so I could stay. I could not let that happen.

    5 – I’m preparing a blog item about an effort of Jake Metcalf’s, the fellow that wrote this very nice letter on my behalf, and now I’m worried it’s going to appear as though there is a conflict. Darn it.

  14. “You should subscribe to your local paper, the Sun or otherwise, no matter what. These cuts, which are happening across the country, are because my generation and my parents’ generation aren’t subscribing to their local paper.

    I bet there is a direct correlation between declining subscriptions and increasing partisanship of newspapers. Many have forsaken their fourth estate role. They deserve to die. Subscribe “NO MATTER WHAT”? Nope.

  15. Binion here:

    “In his comprehensive history of American journalism, Frank Luther
    Mott describes American newspapers of this time as moving from the era of
    the partisan press, when newspapers were heavily subsidized by political par-
    ties and expected to hew to the partisan mark in all their reporting of pub-
    lic events, into the evolution of the penny press, demarcated by the publi-
    cation of the New York Sunby Benjamin Day in 1832, when newspapers
    began to rely on advertising for financial support and to detach themselves
    from their insistent party allegiances.”
    http://www.mormonhistoricsitesfoundation.org/publications/studies_spring_01/MHS2.1Wiegenstein.pdf

    “The Partisan Press – In the unsettled years after the Revolution, American newspapers remained filled with arguments and anger — now directed not against the British but against their political opponents. Each of the two parties that formed, the Federalists and the Republicans, had their newspapers and these papers had little sympathy for representatives of the other side.”
    http://www.nyu.edu/classes/stephens/Collier's%20page.htm

    “…were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
    Thomas Jefferson, 1787

    What you are saying sounds dangerously close to freeloading, blue light.

  16. Sorry to see you leave Bremerton. You endured the pain of sitting through the budget meeting & THEN they give you the ax? I finally thought The Sun had someone who was paying attention, like Eric Williams. Perhaps that isn’t the goal. Will be sorry to see you go Andy, happy to buy you a few at the Owl in Seattle.

  17. Actually, Andy, I am a subscriber. For now. Maybe I’ll cancel after – say – ten more editorial endorsements for tax increases. That should be by the middle of 2009.

  18. “I bet there is a direct correlation between declining subscriptions and increasing partisanship of newspapers. …”

    If there is a connection it has to be minuscule.
    We don’t have the readers, computers and the internet compete and win. It is also my understanding too many students aren’t taught how to read in school or to be great readers, are they?

    Putting newspapers into the schools, as the KS does brings newspapers alive to the kids…many of whom don’t see them in their home.

    I’m sorry to see Andy go, but there isn’t another reporter here that I think should take his place in the unemployment line.

    IF people like Jake supported excellent journalism by subscribing to GOOD newspapers, reporters like Andy wouldn’t be leaving.
    .
    I’m surprised Jake doesn’t support the KS through subscribing,. He has blogged some great posts here and I believed he supported the Kitsap Sun, or any newspaper he contributed to online.

    One group I visit online occasionally has figured out how to charge the online contributers/visitors and people, including me, pay. If it works for them, why isn’t the KS doing the same thing?
    Sharon O’Hara

  19. My New Year’s Resolution is to blog no more. It occurs to me after reading that sockpuppet story on the South Kitsap blog, that it’s turning into a house of mirrors.

    My dad used to read Mike Royko out loud at lunch. Just the good parts. I don’t know if I appreciated it at the time or if I laughed, but I was listening. It’s nice to have someone edit for you.

    I got to spend an enjoyable day with my dad in Powell’s Bookstore, digging around in the stacks for old copies of books by Richard Armour. We were successful.

    It’s good to laugh. Pura vida, Andrew. I hope you end up working with young people. For their sake.

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