Friday, January 11, 2008

10 things about me: The most important one

1. I am Jim Hopkins. Yesterday, I left the Gannett Co. Inc. after 20 years' work as a reporter and editor. I was one of the 43 USA Today employees who took a buyout last month. And now I've got a lot of explaining to do -- because I'm living my life on Internet time.

2. I can make online videos, blog, shoot pictures, edit stories, build and analyze databases, create graphics, manage employees, plus write spot news, features and investigative stories.

3. I returned a convicted murderer to prison along with dozens of other felons in an investigation built on hundreds of pages of government documents -- and a public confrontation with the killer.

4. I was the first journalist to report a prominent attorney's role in one of the nation's bigger corporate fraud cases of the 1980s. I had been a reporter less than a year, but I refused to let him intimidate me. He was eventually indicted on fraud charges, convicted and sent packing to prison. (I don't know whether my reporting played any part in his getting caught.)

5. I know when to not tell a story.

6. I can parachute into a complex murder trial and turn around a spot news story in just a few hours.

7. I have comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable.

8. I can get happily lost for hours in a courthouse basement, leafing through dusty public documents.

9. I love the team work needed to put out a paper and a website.

10. I try to be fair, accurate and ethical. But I am human.

[Image: my original USA Today employee ID badge and press card. It was made on my first day: May 1, 2000. For more photos of my old ID badges, learn more about my life, on Internet time.]

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for everything you do, Jim. And congrats on getting out of Gannett! We enjoy and value your reporting, insight and much-needed snarkiness here at a slowly-dying Gannett paper in Jersey....

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  2. Congratulations on your escape. I look forward to reading your new commentary.

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  3. sfrealadvocate1/11/2008 6:16 PM

    Congratulations, Jim, on your new venture/adventure. You will undoubtedly have lots of fun doing things out of your normal previous scope of responsibilities. I wish you well, buddy! Ken

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  4. Sorry, but I have real problems with the dissembling prior to the ID reveal. I think it's great there's a Gannett blog - snarky or not - but to ask readers does anyone know what's up with the buyouts, while you yourself were TAKING a buyout and knew all about it, goes way over the line. Hiding your identity is one thing. Obscuring the truth about your situation is neither journalistic nor honest. Boo. Very disappointed.n

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  5. I sort of agree with you -- and sort of don't. The part I agree with: Asking for information about buyouts without disclosing that I was a beneficiary. I didn't like doing that. But I also couldn't ignore a big Gannett story, especially when I saw my traffic from Virginia spike during that period.

    The part I don't agree with: "...while you yourself were TAKING a buyout and knew all about it..." Believe it or not, I DIDN'T know all about the buyout. There was stuff I learned only from Gannett Blog readers. Why? Because management locked down information; there was very little transparency on the process.

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  6. Jim,

    First, congrats on your new life. Those of us who know you from USAT know your integrity, hard work and creativity. Second, this blog is great -- please keep it coming.

    The ship is indeed sinking quickly. At least it will be fun to read about it with style.

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  7. I just found your blog site Jim and I am learning quite a bit. Thank you! Gannett announced the closure of our Lancaster Ohio print site and I am out of a job on Feb. 15.
    I sent an e-mail off to Dubow and Dickey just last week, suggesting ways to create new medial markets for Gannett and their advertisers....No answer back, of course.

    Me? I'm just a simple press operator. Graphics, pagination, truck driver, inserter, shift foreman, plus.

    WHY? Why did I give all that time to Gannett, to be stabbed in the back by the corp.?

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Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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