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Pablo comes home

April 1, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
After nearly 19 months away from the newsroom of the Herald-Star, a hiatus that was nearly 27 years in the making, I find myself home again.

It was one of those “find yourself” gaps, what academia would have granted as a sabbatical, what a more talented journalist might have taken as time to write that book that’s always lurking in the back of the writer’s mind.

I went to the gym instead. Call it the completion of a mid-life crisis that took about seven years to finish. Everything in my life had somehow changed in the period from 2004 to 2011, except that I’m a Catholic and married to the most tolerant and gentle woman I’ve ever known. At that point, it just seemed logical to get out of the newsroom to see if my professional life needed to change.

As manager of the Steubenville Anytime Fitness, I made about 800 new friends. I found an inner strength I didn’t know I had. I was able to sell stuff. And I met the most amazing people across the company, people who are always up instead of worried. It changed me.

But it was sometime during the Romney-Obama debates of 2012 that I found myself drafting uncontrolled screeds on my Facebook account. I was ranting pent-up words that seemed to be flying from my fingertips, kind of the way my newsroom pals say I write when I get into the zone.

And it occurred to me that I was getting over this news burnout thing I claimed to still be suffering with. Omigosh, I missed it, didn’t I? No matter how many times I said “Nah, I don’t miss it” when asked by people seemingly every time I walked into Kroger (there really were people reading my stuff all those years after all).

And so, through the good graces of God, Alex Marshall and Ross Gallabrese, publisher and editor, I find myself home. It’s a kind of Prodigal Son story, except instead of eating pig fodder, I was selling gym memberships for 18 months.

I left fearing the news business was passing me by, that I lost a half step, that I’d never figure out this Twitter and blog stuff. And now, my column is no longer confined to Sundays in the high-fiber edition of the local mass media. I can come on here anytime the words strike, in short and quick form.

And we’ve got some other exciting electronic newsie stuff to come. Stay tuned. Literally.

It’s good to be home.

(Giannamore has been a part of the Herald-Star family since January 1985, except for those missing 19 months. Counting time in radio, he’s been in the local media since May 1981.)


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