Saturday, June 30, 2012

The End... and The Beginning

As a long, brutal 16 months in this River City finally reaches its close, a new day begins at midnight.

Until then, this scribe sits surrounded by 181 years of a history now superseded, in the hope of making sense of it all. Then again -- even in fits of writers-block, it seems -- the line can't help but come to mind that there are no coincidences, only the Providence of God.

Looking at things through the lens of today, for no shortage of our own, this midnight and weekend makes for yet another very difficult, painful, even bitter moment. But only by believing in tomorrow -- a moment whose likes we have not known in quite some time here -- can the significance of the hour soon to strike, and the road of immense promise that lies beyond it, be understood as it deserves.

For the gift of a future as unexpected as it's been needed among us, as a new era dawns in our midst, Phils fans, God grant us the grace to know hope and newness of life... and in the only way a church can, tonight, let us begin again:


SVILUPPO: Lest we forget -- and in the interests of a full perspective -- this July 1st doesn't just bring seismic changes to the life of the church in this place, but the institution that's long been the diocese's lead rival in the hometown discourse.

After 85 years at 400 N. Broad, the new fiscal sees God's Favorite Newspaper -- this scribe's classroom of the craft -- and the suburban rag that's shared The Tower with it leaving their landmark headquarters for slimmed-down space across town... where, among other things, the parking will be considerably more expensive and -- in an aspect of the move that should jar any fan of decent journalism -- the two newsrooms are to be consolidated into a single space.

At the papers' latest change of ownership this spring -- their fourth in five years -- the Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer were purchased for roughly a tenth of the $515 million they sold for in 2006.

This might sound like a throwaway bit of local lore for some, but for 33 years until last fall, the bowels of The Tower had a much more meaningful name 'round these parts -- "Dad's office." Thanks to that, finding love at first sight in the newsroom upstairs ended up creating what you see here day in and day out.

An old line says that "Journalism will kill you, but it will keep you alive while you're at it." Here's hoping that remains true -- these days, chances are that internet readerships who've become used to getting everything for nothing (and just as much, cut-and-paste websites that do little more than lift content from elsewhere, only to deflate the traffic and revenue that makes actual reporting possible) will end up killing the outlets first.

As recent events in The Tower's long shadow would seem to indicate, that just might make for an unexpected path to a better life. Either way, it's just another way of saying that, in this place, the world as we've long known it is literally changing overnight.