Howard Weaver, 58, who has been the top news executive for the entire McClatchy chain since 2001, has opted to pull the plug by the end of the year, a reaction he says more because of losing a younger brother last year - and understanding that life is getting short - than a bailing out on the industry.
Weaver had the fortune - and misfortune - to be part of the newspaper group that went out and bought up newspapers all over the country in the last couple of years, at precisely the moment that the future of the newspaper industry starting looking its most bleak. And just a few days ago, a group that rates the futures of newspapers says its likely that Weaver's home newspaper - The Sacramento Bee - is likely to go into the tank, very soon.
Howard was the editor of the editorial pages of The Sacramento Bee in the 1990s when I worked as a fill-in editor at the newspaper, doing the Sunday Forum section, Op-Ed and occasionally the letters to the editor.
Every day I would have to walk my page proofs by Howard's desk for an ok, which he gave quite perfunctorily.
Until one day. That day he said, "The only reason I look at these pages is to make sure you don't say 'fuck' in a headline."
I never did use any epithets in headlines and he never complained about a single page header, page design or editing job I had done in the years I worked with him.
Howard was a great editor and I missed him when he moved up to the corporate offices.
I suspect he will be greatly missed by all, now that he has moved on.