More than a decade ago, I was the city editor for the Gilroy Dispatch. One of my responsibilities was laying out page A2, the main component of which was a column called Take 2. At the time, the Dispatch published five papers each week, and Take 2 rotated among five local writers.
In January of 2002, one of the A2 columnists ended his column and I faced a hole to fill with very little notice. I decided that the fastest solution was to fill it myself, so that evening I wrote a column and submitted it to editor Mark Derry; thus, my stint as a regular newspaper columnist began.
Take 2 consisted of personal, non-political commentary. My first columns focused on non-controversial topics ranging from the anniversary of my daughter’s leukemia diagnosis (the subject of my first column), to travel travails and DIY dilemmas, for example.
The number of printed issues per week isn’t the only change that’s occurred at the local newspapers over the last 11 years. In 2002, classified ads were still a big part of the newspaper business model. The classified ad reps sat not far from the Dispatch newsroom, and I could hear them on the phone with customers, quoting prices and confirming ad copy. Craig’s List had not yet decimated newspapers’ classified ad revenue.