Caking, in case the term is new to you, is the tradition of sharing cake in the newsroom to tell someone goodbye. As layoffs and consolidation transform the news industry, we’ve seen some clever cakes over the years — face cakes, front-page cakes, photo cakes.
But the cake the Poynter-owned Tampa Bay Times gave Chris Davis, deputy managing editor of investigations and data, might be the best newsroom goodbye cake ever. (Davis, who oversaw three Pulitzer-winning projects at the Times, is headed for USA Today.)
The goodbye cake says it all: pic.twitter.com/x0IEGPmKHf
— Adam Playford (@adamplayford) July 6, 2016
“The cake came together like a lot of our web projects,” said Michael LaForgia, an investigative reporter at the Tampa Bay Times. “It was [director of data and digital enterprise] Adam Playford’s idea. He went to Publix and got it. [Data reporter] Nat Lash came up with the big blue ball to signify Gannett. I wrote the message — but Publix refused to print it on the cake for us.”
“So they gave us a bag of blue frosting, and Martin Frobisher, who designs and polishes a lot of our web stuff, did the lettering in our break room.”
Update: We asked readers to share their own memorable newsroom cakes, and we’ve received lots of emails and tweets since. Some celebrated birthdays and milestones. Some honored a colleague as they left the newsroom. And at least two were brought into one lucky newsroom with a journalist who has serious baking skills. (Also, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch newsroom has a Twitter account dedicated to announcing newsroom cake.)
Let’s start with the goodbye cakes.
Richard Martin, the senior editor for criminal justice at The Baltimore Sun, emailed about this amazing trio of cakes given out at the Tampa Bay Times when he was there. Kathleen Flynn, now a photographer at NOLA.com, found the picture of the cakes she, Willie Allen and Marissa Lang all got as they left.
The Denver Post’s Lori Punko sent the image of this cake, given in 2012 when some copy editors said goodbye.
Whitney Hickerson sent in this image, from after an editor left The (Russellville, Arkansas) Courier for a job at a Texas university:
When Jeff Klinkenberg retired from the Tampa Bay Times in 2014 after a career writing about Florida culture, the newsroom offered this fitting cake.
Dinah Voyles Pulver, of The Daytona Beach News-Journal, sent this picture of the cake given to Will Hobson when he left for the Tampa Bay Times.
Here are a few we got via Twitter:
— Justin George (@justingeorge) July 7, 2016
— Rebecca W. Benjamin (@rlwbenj) February 28, 2014
Birthday cakes (and a pie):
What do you get a newspaper editor for his or her birthday? Newspaper cake. Joseph McCain, publisher of the Winston County Journal in Louisville, Mississippi, sent this image:
— Graham Cawthon (@GrahamCawthon) July 7, 2016
— Sarah Fentem (@Petit_Smudge) July 7, 2016
Good metrics, covering a standoff, an anniversary and an awkward question led to these cakes.
Heather Irwin of The (Santa Rosa, California) Press Democrat sent an image of a metrics ice cream cake.
— Jennifer Cooper (@JenerallyMe) July 7, 2016
— Brianna Flores (@Brianna_Writes) July 7, 2016
— Katy Anderson (@_KatyAnderson_) July 7, 2016
Let’s end with two amazing cakes my former colleague Andrew Beaujon shared on Facebook. Beaujon and his colleagues at Washingtonian work with Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato, a reporter and cake wizard. She even made a pizza cake: