This past Friday, the Wall Street Journal gave readers a look at "Confessions of an Organization Man," an op-ed penned by John Temple, former editor, publisher and president of the Rocky Mountain News. In it, Temple notes that after leaving the Rocky, he was excited by the opportunity to move forward in his career "outside the cocoon of a large company." But during the months since then, he admits that he's experienced "a sense of loss, and not only for my own situation. I wonder what will happen if we end up in a media universe of free agents. I see more clearly what the journalists who come behind me might miss. Many won't be able to experience the benefits of being part of an organization with a mission much larger than their own, with a history and traditions." He concludes, "To be honest, I genuinely miss being part of a larger entity with a purpose. I am an organization man -- and I'm not embarrassed to say it."
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There's a poignancy about these musings. At the time of the Rocky's shuttering, executives at E.W. Scripps, the tabloid's owner, made it clear that Temple could have a corporate job for the asking, but he passed. No telling if such an offer is still on the table, or if Temple would take a deal if the door remains open. But whatever his intentions when he put fingers to keyboard, his essay announces to the journalism community as a whole that he wouldn't reject a chance to get back in the game simply because he'd lose his independence. Apparently, surrendering some of his freedom is starting to look mighty good....