Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Farewell from Rick Nobles

I'm not a person who is comfortable with risk. But seven years ago, I decided to leave a paper where I believed I'd have a secure income and five weeks of vacation until I retired to join a paper that was about to undergo a change of ownership and the merger of two large staffs. That risk was rewarded with the best job ever. I've had far more fun and done much better work than I imagined possible.

I can't mention all the great people at the Chronicle who've made an impression on me, but I can't resist thanking or acknowledging some of the folks who gave me opportunities or helped me do the job better or just made life at the Chron more enjoyable. Many of them are still around.

First, thanks to Eric Jungerman, my former neighbor, for alerting me to an opening in the art department and being my advocate just as the Mercury's version of Michael D. Brown was stomping on my last nerve.

Thanks also to Rich Pestorich, Tyra Mead and Ron Mann for giving me a warm welcome to the Bay Area centerpiece team and for all the laughs and rumor vetting at the weekly planning meetings. (Remember when the Chronicle bought food every time three or more people gathered in a conference room?)

Thanks to everyone associated with the Friday sections. So many sweet people and so much dedication to good journalism. I never would have believed that designing covers for zoned community features sections could be so satisfying.

Thanks to Steve Zuckerman for being so well organized, for caring so much and for respecting and appreciating my contribution to the Sunday business sections back in the day. And for his heart of gold.

Thanks to Dave Lewis for all the deep discussions about Big XII football and basketball -- and a whole lot more.

Thanks to Allen Matthews for including me on a team of terrific people who got CCI up and running and introduced it to the staff. It's a rare pleasure to work for a manager who understands the phrase, "If it ain¹t broke, don't fix it."

Thanks to Jim Finefrock for the war stories and for being so pleased with my Insight covers and treating me more like a partner than a servant. My years with Insight were the best gig ever.

Thanks to Vicki Haddock and Jonathan Curiel for providing Insight with a steady stream of thorough and thoughtful reporting in contrast to the ivory tower scribes who wrote freelance pieces off the tops of their heads. (Hello, professor? Would it kill you to pick up a phone?) And thanks for all the warm (Vicki) and entertaining (Jonathan) conversations.

Thanks to Jon Ferguson for taking ownership of the Insight copy editing, for catching our mistakes and always making the display type the best it could be.

Thanks to Lois Kazakoff for being incredibly competent and organized in everything she does and for the tons of work she did on the Portraits of Sacrifice section. And to Russell Yip, who came up with the idea and worked equally hard to pull it off.

Thanks to the world's greatest photo department for the pictures, the laughs and especially for the wonderful collaborations. It's been a privilege to work with so many talented and generous photo editors, and all the shooters who put down their cameras long enough to keep things humming on the desk.

And finally, thanks to my fabulous neighbors in the art department.

To the incredibly talented and overworked guys in the graphics pod who made everyone's pages look smart. To all the designers, the art directors and Nan for the feedback and brainstorming.

To Ed Rachles and Don Asmussen for the countless hours of entertainment. Ed was a daily source of smiles and chuckles. Don has brought me tears of laughter more times than I can count. His presentation at the SND conference in San Jose had me laughing so hard for so long I thought I'd suffocate.

To our departed illustrators -- Bill Russell, Tom Murray, Dan Hubig and Lance Jackson -- for making my pages sparkle with their drawings and for frequently coming through on very short notice. Thanks especially to Tom and Dan for the great conversations and for offering ideas for my own illustrations. They helped prepare me to conjure my own concepts after they left. And thanks to Lance just for being Lance.

It's been great. I¹ve worked for three Bay Area papers, and we have an amazing community of journalists here. I'll miss you people, but I hope I get to see you from time to time. You can contact me at ricknobles@comcast.net.

So, as a lovable news editor at the Daily Review used to say on his way out the door every night: That's 30 for me.

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