Before I left the News & Record, I joked to a co-worker. “My legacy will be that I laid off people and that I started the Good Stuff.” Layoffs you know about and I don’t want to relive. The Good Stuff is a column I started in early 2009 in which readers submit stories of extraordinary acts of kindness they have witnessed.
There is truth behind the legacy crack. The Good Stuff is one of the more popular columns we publish. Because I solicited and edited the items, people got to know me and would send me notes saying how much they enjoyed the column.
I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what readers remember about me. (Here I should make a distinction between readers and staff members. I’m pretty sure my bequest to the staff is different.) While I wish the readers identified me with some of the investigative work the paper produced, some of our special projects or the expansion of our online work, I don’t kid myself that they do. After all, right or wrong, I’m not the face they see on any of that.
It raises a question I wish I had thought about more when I was still at the paper: What will your legacy be? And how are you going about delivering it?