Top of the morning, July 25, 2016

Top of the morning, July 25, 2016

Come 5 p.m. Friday afternoon, this will be where I used to work.

Ho-hum.

The News-Gazette has been around for, what, 165 years? Lots of people have come and gone and the paper gets out every day but Christmas.

I am surrounded by talented people with a zest for a job well done and the creativity and persistence to pull it off time and again. I’ve been here since 1978, and it’s always been like this.

I’ll miss these people. They are some of my closest friends. Seeing how hard they work makes me want to do better.

And I’ll miss this work.

There is no other job in which I could do the things I’ve gotten to do.

I’ve covered only one trial, but it was a hell of a spectacle: A man was acquitted of killing two men whose bodies were found inside a marijuana-strewn U-Haul trailer in the parking lot of a small Urbana apartment complex.

I was a clown for a day when the circus came to town. (Some friends would say I’ve played this role for longer.)

I’ve watched citizens plead their cases at the most fundamental level of democracy — school boards and city councils. I covered Urbana city government when the mayor was a Republican.

I had a brief phone interview with Alison Krauss in the wee hours after she won her first Grammy.

I’m still embarrassed by every mistake, and those I’d desperately love to forget will always be with me.

I’ve lost good friends: Becky Mabry, Eric Schuster, Nina Rubel, Bob Zimmer and Joe Nugent.

I’ve watched my profession change — from IBM Selectrics and an optical scanner the size of a Volkswagen to the cellphone as reporting tool.

There were two newspapers in Champaign-Urbana when I started, and I miss those days — competition makes everyone better — although we sure got lucky by hiring several great people from the Courier as its days dwindled.

Speaking of luck:

Years ago, I was talking with my dad, telling him how much I liked my job. He said if you have a job that keeps your bills paid and a roof over your head and you enjoy it, you’re lucky.

He was right.

I’ve been very, very lucky.

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Dan Corkery wrote on July 25, 2016 at 9:07 am
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Well said, Mike

Dan Corkery

managing editor for administration

ramage wrote on July 25, 2016 at 9:07 am

Congratulations, Michael. Well done.

WiltonDiary wrote on July 25, 2016 at 10:07 am

Congratulations and best wishes, enjoy your retirement!  

JoeMcNamra

Darrell Hoemann wrote on July 25, 2016 at 11:07 am

It was a pleasure to work with you. Your stint as city editor is still one of my favorite periods at the News-Gazette.

sueo wrote on July 25, 2016 at 11:07 am

And the N-G has been very lucky to have had you on staff all these years! Enjoy your well-deserved retirement!

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on July 25, 2016 at 12:07 pm
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I was told by an extremely reliable source with knowledge of the situation that Mike Howie is a good guy.

Mike Howie wrote on July 25, 2016 at 10:07 pm
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Thank you all for the kind words. 

Mike