One of the few Dallas news writers I actually like and pay attention to was let go this week I probably should have appreciated more of his published work, in real-time, while I could. Thankfully we live in the time of the internet... What did people do back in the day when their favorite writers and reporters finally got a long-deserved break? It’s a hollow feeling.
His opinions often came - and still come - from a very different place than mine, but I’ve always respected the way he covered the issue at hand. Unrelenting, personal, and raw. Entertaining. Meandering in a way that was considerate at times, yet still firm in his beliefs, and always willing to stir the pot and call out the wrong in things as he saw them.
Sometimes, his coverage of the city felt random to me, which is probably due to my lack of proper Dallas knowledge and how things are connected. But that randomness - perhaps ‘breadth of coverage’ is a better term - was something I enjoyed. He covered a host of issues, and I look up to that. It kept things fresh, and the fact that a city columnist could and would discuss so many different things made it feel all the more human. I liked the anecdotes and energy; it always seemed more fun to me than the print news format I’ve been gaining experience in. All part of the process and desired destination, though, I suppose. In due time.
For a city columnist, Jim had a style I seemed unable to find elsewhere within Dallas’ political beats. Maybe that’s for lack of trying to find those additional voices, but on the other hand, it’s also because I didn’t really want to find another. I’ve always been interested in city politics and social commentary, but a lot of people are really good at making you not want to read about it. I‘ve always thought that you shouldn’t need to work that hard to appreciate written work. It should excite you. For that reason, I find my favorite writers and stick to them, while simply dabbling in the work of others for the sake of staying informed and evenly-influenced. I'm probably that way to a fault because I end up really liking a few writers above the rest and not giving much time to many others.
A lot of entities are great at covering the mainstream points but not getting to the true underbelly of the issue. Jim covered implications that were often missed by other outlets and writers alike. With the loss of Jim, and with city columnist Robert Wilonsky leaving the DMN not too long ago, my favorite city commentators are no longer in the mix. I am unfortunately accepting suggestions for new favorite newspeople I suppose that was dramatic. But I’m not great at venturing out, and for some reason, I still live in a little bit of a bubble despite always seeking new commentary, so help me out.
But hey, at least the guys aren’t dead. Hopefully, Jim continues to write via FB as he has been, or via some other blog format so I can continue taking notes. He’s of a dying breed, sadly.