Nine and a half years ago, I started this blog with a post titled, simply, This blog. One thousand, two hundred and forty-three posts later — roughly two per week — I’m ending it. It has been a great ride.
I’ve been a reporter for 41 years. When I began, we didn’t have blogs, or Twitter or Facebook, or the Internet or even desktop computers. We wrote stories on machines known as “typewriters.” Somehow we managed.
We’re better off now.
There are those who argue that the Internet has been bad for journalism. I can’t agree. To be sure, online media have taken readers and advertisers away from newspapers and magazines. Local newspapers have been hollowed out and, as a result, local news coverage has suffered terribly. But when it comes to national or international news, business reporting, sports news, movie or TV or book reviews, opinion writing and just about everything else, there’s more good journalism available today than ever before.
The Internet has transformed my professional life. (It has been “berry, berry good to me,” in the words of Chico Escuela.) Twenty years ago, as part of my audition for a job at FORTUNE magazine, I wrote a story about what was then called ESPN Sportzone. (With 140,000 users a day, it was then “one of the most popular destinations on the Web, the multimedia portion of the Internet that is experiencing hypergrowth.”) My first FORTUNE cover story profiled Steve Case and America Online. FORTUNE made so much money during the tech bubble that Time Inc. once sent a bunch of editors and reporters to Hawaii for an offsite. Those were the days.
Since 2006, when I started this blog, I’ve been able to connect with readers as never before. Being a “publisher” was heady stuff. For better or worse, I was liberated from editors for the first time in my reporting career.
You might wonder which have been my most popular posts. Two were personal. In December 2008, I wrote a post headlined The recession hits home. I’d just lost my staff position at FORTUNE, which kept me on part-time with a contract. The blog post generated all kinds of offers, as well as personal support at a time when I needed it.
I wrote Edgar Gunther, RIP about my father after he died in 2009. Writing it was cathartic. His career ended before the Internet era, so it’s essentially the only online record of his life. Comments from his friends and colleagues arrived for years afterwards.
The two other most-read posts challenged conventional wisdom. Is organic food the answer? went viral and global when it ran in 2011. How ‘evil’ Monsanto aims to protect the planet attracted thousands of readers, most via Facebook.
Why I am saying goodbye now? Not because I’m tired of blogging. But after 20 years of reporting about business, I’m ready to try something new. While I expect to write occasionally about business and sustainability, I’ve given up my position as editor at large of Guardian Sustainable Business US.
Going forward, I expect to spend most of my time reporting on foundations and nonprofits, with a focus on their effectiveness. I’ll also be writing about global poverty, animal welfare and sustainable/impact investing. I’ll be freelancing and writing weekly for a blog, Nonprofit Chronicles, that I began last spring. I invite you to subscribe to the blog here and to “like” Nonprofit Chronicles on Facebook.
Thank you for giving me a precious gift — your time and attention — for these past nine years.