Have you ever been to a football game and watched all the position groups warm up? Even when it’s a professional team, the hierarchy is usually plain to see.
OK, there’s the starter. Oh, there’s one of the backups.
Aaaaaand, wait a minute, who’s this? Did they get lost and stumble onto the field?
That’s me, except I didn’t stumble onto a field. I stumbled into an office — the editor’s office.
I’m here in this interim role, filling in for our former editor, Oseye Boyd, whose last day was June 1. The best part of her farewell column was this: “This paper has allowed me to join my two passions: journalism and Black people.”
There’s the blueprint, right there!
That’s the kind of editor this newspaper needs, and it’s the kind of editor this community deserves. I’m happy to steady this ship and don’t think I’ll be half bad at it, but this isn’t my place. I’m only keeping the seat warm. (Actually, I moved my chair into this office because I think it’s more comfortable, but you get the point.)
I was having a conversation with someone recently about the Recorder, and I said something like, “The Recorder isn’t what it used to be.” I was talking about the size of the staff because, like so many newspapers, we’ve gradually gotten smaller over the years.
But when it comes to what this staff does, the Recorder is what it’s always been: a voice for the Black community in Indianapolis.
You all have great stories to tell — like the barber shop where you better not swear, or the 6-year-old who has a black belt. Some stories are difficult, and we’re there to tell those, too. We’ve told the complicated story of police legitimacy, and we were there to document when a group of protesters walked 4 miles from the governor’s mansion to downtown at the height of local demonstrations in 2020.
Good editors make that stuff happen. They help you put the puzzle together and pick up all the pieces if it falls apart.
Whoever steps into this office next will take over a growing newsroom. We’ve recently added an environmental reporter who’s already looking at the danger lead poses locally. We also have a new religion reporter, who will report on the Black church and its role in the community.
It’s always fascinating talking to people in the community about this newspaper because it seems like everyone knows someone who used to work at the Recorder. Usually, it’s a kid who delivered papers way back in the day. Lots of people smile when they talk about this paper — not because the memories are only happy ones, but because the Recorder has been there.
We’re looking for the next person to continue that legacy. It’s a big one, but Black Indianapolis deserves our best.
Contact senior staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.