Free at last!
That’s how I feel about starting a new chapter of my life and leaving the Los Angeles Daily News behind after the happiest 23 years in my life personally and professionally.
My last day on the job as editor of the Daily News was April 4 and every day since has been amazing, filled with a lot of love and support from friends, colleagues, acquaintances and even people I didn’t know.
The newspaper business has been tough for a long while and getting worse day by day so the stress level has been high and I can’t put into words just how good it feels to be free of it, to be free to participate in civic life just as me without a formal role, to speak publicly purely in my own voice and work directly for the things I believe in.
My only regret is the colleagues I’ve left behind at the Daily News, journalists most especially, since we had a great newsroom and had become a real newspaper with people finding their own voice, having fun telling stories and working hard to reinvent newspapering.
But there are also hundreds of other great people who make up the Daily News I loved so dearly, from telephone sales to the printing plant, from advertising, circulation and all the other business offices — dedicated people who gave the paper character and identity. I wish them all the best as they struggle to find the keys to keeping alive a nearly 100-year-old tradition of community service to the San Fernando Valley.
I want to talk more about that later, the paper, the Valley, the city, the things I believe in, and the vision that drives me to fight for a better, a greater Los Angeles. I want to write from my heart and I want others to post their stories at ronkayela.com, to engage in a public conversation about who we are and what we could become if we pull together and work together for the common good.
We’ll never know what that is or how to achieve it unless we talk about our experiences, our values, our needs and our aspirations. I believe with all my heart that that kind of public conversation will cut through the fog of political, media and corporate double talk and lead us to the common ground where we can start solving the problems of our community and make life better for us all.
I certainly don’t pretend to know the answers; I only know what I see and I’m probably wrong about most of all of it. My newsroom knew that, and had a saying, “You can’t spell wrong without R-O-N.”
So let’s tell the truth as we see it and learn from each other. Let the games begin.