Gentle reader, when I first got myself a sit down in an office job in an IT company in 1998, I had an Internet connection all day long, and so, in addition to writing documentation using software that made the contract technical writer cry in frustration, I started reading a lot of newspaper Web sites every day. Especially the newspaper columnists. I read Roeper, Steinberg, Kass, Greene, and Schmich from the Chicago papers.
Over the years, the number I’ve read has dwindled. After 2000, most of them veered too left for me, and Greene was dismissed from the Chicago Tribune. Although I still say “Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen” whenever the topic of sunscreen comes up at Nogglestead, I don’t tend to read new Schmich. Kass was the only one I would go to the Chicago Tribune Web site, intermittently, to read.
Perhaps the loyal devotion to columnists tailed off when it became clearer that I was not destined to be a columnist.
At any rate, for some reason the Chicago Tribune separated him, which means that the only remaining reason I have to visit that Web site is to gleefully follow the heartbreak of another Bears season. Intermittently, and maybe.
Although the corporation is probably better off without me, too, as I don’t tend to click the ads and do not subscribe to Internet publications. But Tronc, or whatever the corporation calls itself these days, has sacrificed a reason old people like me read the physical paper when we do (as a reminder, I subscribe to five newspapers from around the state, soon to be seven now that The Licking News has a way to subscribe online finally and because I’ll also take the adjacent Houston Herald).
For the news, yes, but also the voices of Jim Hamilton, Larry Dablemont, Father Hirz, Cassie Downs, Amber Heard, Karen Craigo, and other friendly print voices. Which does not mean 23-year-old Web content producers writing clickbait listicles; it means adults.
I hope Kass continues writing; I have seen his work in other venues, but that might have just been his Tribune columns syndicated.