Doug Blackmon says goodbye to WSJ colleagues

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Doug Blackmon, a journalist at The Wall Street Journal for the past 16 years, is working his last day at the paper before starting a position at the University of Virginia.

His goodbye e-mail to his colleagues reads:

It’s old news now, but I wanted to be sure all of my Journal colleagues of the past 16 years knew that I’ve had my last day as a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal and am starting a new phase of my work life. (This email will soon go dark; new contact info at the bottom).

I’ll be doing some teaching and television hosting at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, continuing to write for the Washington Post and elsewhere, and hopefully getting new book and film projects underway. Perhaps I’ll even find a way back on the pages of the WSJ every now and then.

My time at the Journal was like the very best kind of ride at an amusement park. Wondrous, implausibly brilliant engineering and risk behind the scenes. Startling ups and downs. Breathtaking vistas and insight at the high points. A sense of impending doom at the lows. Wildly unexpected destinations. The constant sense that something extraordinarily important was just about to accelerate in some new and astonishing way. All quite exhilarating.

The Journal allowed me to work with, and sometimes hire and influence, the very finest journalists and to be a part of explorations of the most complicated topics, exhausting stories and historic moments. 9/11. Katrina. Obama. Tea Party. Rupert’s speech on his copy paper pedestal. American culture high and low. Big banks. Big planes. Big boxes. Big diseases. Dirty executives. White supremacists. Subprime loans. Pulitzers. Near Pulitzers. And yes, slavery by another name, the leder that took a year to write–as they sometimes must–and now lives on as almost a force unto itself. I hope it’s a record of just how much good hard working journalists still can accomplish, without ever seeking any particular outcome.

Special thanks to everyone who passed through the Atlanta bureau in those years — especially Judy Dixon, the fixture at the center of everything we accomplished. And to the editors who forced me to truly understand business — Glenn Ruffenach and Jim Pensiero notable among them. Endless gratitude to the extraordinary, if maddening, page one editors with whom I colluded over the years — in particular Dan Kelly, the wisest editor to cross the threshold of any newspaper and who constantly demonstrated on our pages the power of sober facts, dispassionate equity and political ambivalence.

I’ll always be in love with the remarkable lady that was and is The Wall Street Journal.  It was great fun to join her roller coaster, to drive it now and again, to share your terrors, and to watch everyone scream triumphantly at our moments of glory.