This has been a sad year at my workplace, The News & Observer. We've had layoffs and buyouts because of the our falling revenue and deep debt. We have lost pages of content along with losing smart and talented journalists. We are all worried and scared about the future of the company and our own futures.
Worse and most heartbreaking of all have been the deaths of two former colleagues. Kathy Williams, who was an editor on the news side, died Oct. 30, and now, just a month later, Weta Ray Clark, who was an editor in the Features department, has died. Both Kathy and Weta had left during the buyouts after suffering ill health for a while.
Weta had lymphoma, and she fought it long and hard. I thought she might beat it. The last time I saw her, when we had a sendoff for people who were taking the buyout, she looked puffy from the treatment, but she seemed as cheerful and energetic as ever. She was a very pretty woman with a lovely smile and a funny sense of humor.
Weta was a good editor -- a real journalist. She was creative and worked hard to make her sections engaging and exciting. Sometimes our different interests butted hard against the other. I like for the trains to run on time, and that is not always the way things work. I was frustrated at times with Weta (or maybe more with the circumstances than with her personally), as she was with me. But in the end, I hope Weta knew how much I respected her.