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Monday, July 22, 2024

Boyd: All good things must come to an end

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I knew this day would come.

I prepared for it, but it still came fast.

This is my final column in this newspaper. This is the end of my tenure as editor.

It is a bittersweet moment for sure.

I’m excited for the next chapter in my life, but I can’t help but be grateful to this newspaper. While I haven’t been at this paper my entire career, twice now I’ve gotten my start at the Recorder. While I previously worked part time at a newspaper during college, my first full-time reporting position didn’t come until I was hired at the Recorder. Years later I returned as editor. After years as a reporter, I was now an editor for the first time. And not just an editor, but the editor. The one and only.

I will forever be grateful to the Recorder for being such an integral part of my journalism career. This paper has allowed me to join my two passions: journalism and Black people. This newspaper holds a special place in my heart.

I wish the Recorder held a special place in more hearts. Yes, this is a beloved gem in our city. However, it’s been my experience that the history and legacy of this newspaper is taken for granted by too many in our community — especially those who are in positions of power and should be the staunchest supporters of the paper.

That has been the biggest disappointment to me. Seeing how many people not only take the Recorder for granted but take advantage of the newspaper. I recently participated in a panel discussion on the importance of Black-owned media. Indianapolis has three Black-owned media companies — one each in print, radio and broadcast. I don’t know if many people realize how special this is. Many cities don’t have one Black-owned media company let alone three.

Many cities don’t have one Black-owned newspaper let alone one that’s 127 years old. The Recorder’s always been here, so the thinking goes it always will be. I hope so, but that’s not a guarantee.

Newspapers have been dying across America for decades. The Great Recession changed the game for newspapers. Those that didn’t die grew smaller — significantly smaller. The Recorder wasn’t an exception. We’ve been a small staff throughout my tenure — two reporters and one editor. At one time it was just me for several weeks! I published a weekly newspaper and Indiana Minority Business Magazine, our sister publication, by myself.

I’m not ashamed of our small size or thought small meant our product was inferior. In fact, I’ve always been quite proud. The work we’ve been able to do with a newsroom of three confounds other journalists. We’ve garnered several first-place awards in state journalism competitions. We’ve become the newspaper that other journalists root for even if some in our community don’t.

We’ve been criticized over the years, the subject of rumors and half-truths. (Yes, I see the posts on social media, I just don’t respond.) I’ve been in journalism for a long time. I have thick skin, so I accept criticism as part of the job. However, it’s disheartening to see so much misinformation spread by the people this publication serves. We are far from perfect. We don’t get it right all the time, but we sure try. We try hard. And we’re passionate about it. We’ve done awesome work — award-winning work. And we’re growing! The newsroom is gaining reporters, which means this paper will cover more stories about our community.

Being editor of this paper is a monumental task, and I proved I was more than up to the challenge. It gave me a confidence in who I am as a journalist that I didn’t have when I arrived in 2018. Again, I’m forever grateful.

Now that I’m leaving, my hope is that we return to the days of old, and the Recorder gets the respect and support it deserves. I always ask people, how many businesses do you know that are 127 years old? Then I ask how many of those are Black owned? Now, ask how many of those are newspapers? This is the fourth-oldest, Black-owned newspaper in the country. That’s a marvel in itself.

Instead of criticizing, find out how you can be a part of the Recorder’s survival because this is bigger than all of us. Share content on social media. Subscribe. Buy ads. Do something to make a difference to continue this legacy. Trust, you don’t want it to not be here.

Thank you to everyone I’ve worked with during my time here — in house and externally. It’s been quite a journey.

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