It was January of 2006. I walked in for an interview wearing a pale yellow suit I had bought from Marshall’s or TJ Maxx the night before, and walked out two hours later with the keys to the building.
My training began the next morning. I used my new key, like a boss. Found the light switches and made my way to what I assumed would be my office. I knew there was no manual, and that part of my job would be to put things like that in place.
So I began by organizing the chaos the best I could. There were sticky notes everywhere. So. many. sticky. notes.
Of course, I put them into piles categorically. Phone numbers in one pile, to-dos in another and on I went. I felt smart and proactive.
I answered my first call. “Hollywood Gazette, this is Jen.”
It was my new boss, Meredith Brown. She was pressed for time and— and she urgently needed a phone number that was in the small office… on the wall… on a… sticky note.
“I… umm… I was organizing the office,” I stammered timidly.
No problem, she said. She knew exactly where the note was. “It’s the pink note on the wall to the right of the…” I stopped her. What she didn’t know, was that it was no longer where she thought it was and it was impossible to know which one it was now.
Somehow, I made it through that first day. Which turned into the first month. With a Norah Jones CD I found in the hard drive of my new computer on loop, the month turned into years. “Come Away With Me” will instantly take me back to that building on Federal Highway.
I was introduced as the new “General Manager” of the Hollywood Gazette to everyone important. I felt like an impostor, pretending to be brave and strong.
To this day I sometimes struggle to believe I am the owner and publisher of a community newspaper. It has been– through all the ups and downs, a dream job.
But I had moxie. And when I want to make something work, there’s no stopping me.
Fast forward to a global pandemic.
Last week, we should have been going to press as we have every month for the past 20 years. This novel coronavirus has finally stopped me.
Most people don’t fully appreciate just how small of an operation Hollywood Gazette has always been. Or how hard it’s been to keep the paper going for the past several years.
Hollywood Gazette has always been produced by a handful of big-hearted, generous and dedicated people who believe in the importance of community news.
After the Great Recession of 2008 like most local businesses, we took a hit. In the midst of headlines reading “Print is Dead!” I bought the paper from the family who had started it.
Over time, many people have come and gone and I hope that they can look back at their time at the Hollywood Gazette as one of the best jobs they’ve ever had. That was always my intention.
Over time, I brought on David, and Tammy, and Robin. Ten years have passed and the paper has gotten better every year because of them. Better, but not easier.
Which leads to me this difficult time for us all.
I’ve made the decision to print one final issue a few other times in the past couple of years and each time somehow, things worked out so that we could keep publishing.
This is different.
I’m usually an optimist, but the truth is that even when we have enough testing to allow us to return to a “new normal,” things won’t be the same for quite some time.
And in this new emerging reality, where I can best be of service is dedicating my abilities full-time into my other business where I will be creating web sites and teaching others to start online businesses.
Don’t Cry Because It’s Over; Smile Because It Happened.– Dr. Seuss
So What’s Next for Hollywood Gazette?
We’re printing and mailing one final, special issue on April 21. It will be mailed to our regular neighborhoods and subscribers and dropped off at the usual locations.
If you would like to receive a copy in the mail at the beginning of May, I’ve waived the subscription cost. You can sign up to receive at your home or office here.
It will contain a guide of restaurants that are open and how you can best order from them (UberEats, Grubhub etc) as well as a calendar of virtual events you can participate in from home to help you feel connected to humanity.
In addition, I’m curating the best of our editorial for you to enjoy from the comfort of your home. It’s going to be a very special issue.
At this time, we intend to continue to publish online at hollywoodgazette.com for the foreseeable future. Drop us your email and we’ll keep you in the loop.
To Our Print Advertisers
Many of our advertisers are currently trying to figure out if and how they will proceed to do business. The extended advertising deadline (April 15) will give them a couple of weeks to announce if and how they will continue to serve the community.
If you would like to place an ad in this special issue, email Tammy (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call her directly at 954-609-3131. It will be in the homes by the first week of May. Tammy is also my partner in our other business Q Creative and will be working with me full-time there as well. If you need a website or hosting, set up a call with Tammy!
If you’re a non-profit or have something you really want us to print and cannot afford it, call us or email anyway. If we have the space, we want to include your message and will do our best to accommodate everyone.
To Our Readers
It’s truly been the privilege of my career to have spent the past 14 years keeping you informed, entertained and inspired.
My mission has always been to connect and empower communities and I hope that somehow Hollywood Gazette has made a difference in your life. I will continue that mission, only under a different umbrella, and serving emerging virtual businesses.
Be well, and stay safe.
Forever and forever, farewell, Cassius! If we meet again, then we’ll smile. If not, then this parting was well done.The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare