Comings and goings are not exactly unusual in this business—journalists are usually in either a state of advancement or decline. (It’s an occupational hazard, unfortunately.) Over the past 20 years, despite our small size, we’ve had more staffers come through our office than I can probably recall by name. But we’re lucky in that we’re a paper where good people want to work again once their paths unexpectedly cross back into Knoxville. That was the case with Jesse Fox Mayshark two years ago, when we were able to lure our former editor back from The New York Times. Since then, he’s written many memorable stories, from his award-winning study of the Haslam dynasty to his burlesque approach to explaining pension reform. But this will be his last issue as a staffer, perhaps forever.
Throughout his writing career here at Metro Pulse, Jesse has shown a fascination (and sometimes bewilderment) with local government and the politics that propel it. He’s been one of the best government reporters this city has had in recent history. And the through-line in his coverage hasn’t been about left and right, but rather about what makes sense and what’s ridiculous. His stories have always tried to reveal things that aren’t working while shining a light on ideas that would be good for our city. Which is why I think his decision to enter the realm of government as communications manager for the new city administration is both logical and heartening. We’re going to have a very smart person who knows how things ought to work in a place where he can more directly affect positive change. Knoxville was lucky when Jesse moved to town (twice), and now it’s luckier still.
Meanwhile, we must also say good-bye to two other staffers: sales executive Tiffany Higgins, who is joining Creative Loafing in Charlotte, N.C., and our longtime production manager, Debra Davis, who always made our trains run on time.
Good luck to everyone...