Steve Daley

The author of the greatest sorry-to-see-our-downsized-colleague-go letter has died

Chicago Tribune | Chicago Sun-Times |
Former Chicago Tribune journalist (and occasional Romenesko Letters contributor) Steve Daley died Sunday of unknown causes. He was 62. “Daley could do sports, Daley could do politics, Daley could do media criticism,” says Chicago Sun-Times columnist Carol Marin. “He could make you laugh, and he could make you cry. But he always told you a great story.” In 2009, he wrote a hilarious fill-in-the-blanks letter for newsroom bosses who have to come up with yet another farewell to a downsized employee.

FROM: The Executive Editor

TO: All

As you may have heard (in the newsroom; at Caribou Coffee; on somebody’s blog), John P. Zenger will be leaving his role as (chief investigative reporter; TV critic; ombudsman) at this newspaper.

John came to us (four years ago; in 1981; last month) from (the Bugle; the London School of Economics; a think tank in Phoenix). He arrived here with a reputation as (a sociopath; a member of the team of twenty-seven reporters that won a 1991 Polk award for the Bugle series on alternate street parking; a friend of the former executive editor).

John’s contributions to this paper have not gone without notice. He’s a (deft writer; diligent copy editor; pain in the neck), a man who is passionate about (the First Amendment; gerunds; the Bass Ale at Costello’s Taproom) and a newsroom leader who has (become obsessed with Google maps; not generated a single sexual harassment complaint; inspired legions of young reporters to consider teaching American Studies out at the junior college).

Through it all, he’s been (the conscience of the newsroom; a hulking, angry presence; the keeper of the NCAA “March Madness” basketball brackets).

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