“I don't care if I fall as long as
someone else picks up my pen and keeps on writing.” -- What Andy
Binion would say, I think, unless he was just asking for directions
to the Sev.
Wherever we are in the stages of grief, it’s clearly not over,
based on the complaints aimed at those of us trying to fill the
shoes Andy Binion left behind here.
Believe us, we’re not happy about this either.
I’ve been in contact with Andy a couple of times and he is, if
nothing else, staying pretty busy, which explains why I haven’t
seen any police reports that include his name. I guess the other
part is I don’t read the police reports where Andy hangs out these
When we started the Bremerton Beat in late 2005 it was with the
idea that this could be a central hang out for people interested in
the city, for people who wanted to get beyond the Code 911 stories
in which Bremerton figures so prominently and the stories about
downtown redevelopment. Along the way we had some fun, a lot of it
at the expense of Port Orchard, and developed a bit of a voice.
Then I shifted primarily over to county, port and state issues
and Andy took over and made this place his own. I, as much as
anyone, looked forward to his take on dead cats on his car,
visitors to the city and the tickets that were being issued even
when mail wasn’t being delivered. I think the Bremerton Beat was
the funnest blog on the street, kicking the crap out of the Caucus
in wit and wisdom.
Oddly, Andy doesn’t think he did a very good job at the blog. I
got an e-mail from him yesterday saying as much. I beg to differ.
So do most of you, I bet.
Sadly, this is the state of our business these days. The
newspaper business is, I hope, transforming, but in the meantime
good writers hit the road. Andy was certainly one of those.
I say “I hope” above, because I hope the biz is not dying. I
trust that however it looks, news gathering will continue. The rise
of the Internet should mean more people are providing it. We hope
that means there will still be money in it, enough for me to send
my kids to college so they can get better paying jobs than their
old man. And yet here I am, to some degree, contributing to the
industry’s demise, by posting something you get to read for free
and hidden from those who pay for our stuff.
Beyond hoping there’s a place for me in the future of this
business, I also hope there’s a place for Andy and the writers who
will be umbilical cordless when the P-I shuts down.
For Andy I’m optimistic, because as good as he was, I never got
the sense that “reporter” was what he was. For some of us, what we
do probably matters too much. My dad retired from being a police
officer 30 years ago, but he’s still a cop. Some of us in this
business come in as reporters and have to learn to write or writers
who have to learn to report. But at our core, we remain mostly what
we came in as. Andy, I believe, is a story teller and an activist.
Surely, there is a place for that somewhere in this world, probably
now more than ever.