Mark Donald Resigns as Observer Editor

grouchodesk310.jpg
As I write this my farewell post, I keep hearing in my head the lyrics to a song from the Marx Brothers classic film Animal Crackers: "Hello, I must be going/ I cannot stay, I came to say/I must be going."

Similar to Groucho's character, Captain Spaulding, it seems as though I just said hello, just took over the reins as editor of the Dallas Observer. But it's been three and a half years, and after much deliberation and soul searching, I have decided to resign. I have not come to this moment easily but have wanted to pursue other career opportunities for some time now.

Throughout my 15-year (non-consecutive) tenure at the Observer, first as a contract writer under Peter Elkind, then as an associate editor and staff writer under Julie Lyons, and now as editor, it has been my distinct honor and great pleasure to work with some of the most talented, intelligent and industrious people in journalism.

Truth is, mine has been a wild ride: The marriage of print and web content has been a glorious, demanding challenge for every newspaper across the country, and few have met that challenge as successfully as the Observer's parent company, Village Voice Media.

When I began as editor, we had our news blog, Unfair Park, which became the prototype for all news blogs in the VVM chain, thanks to the remarkable talents and tireless devotion of its editor Robert Wilonsky; and we had a fledgling music blog, DC9 At Night, which has become the dominant music blog in the city, thanks to the passion of music editor Pete Freedman. In recent years, we have added the sports blog, Sportatorium, cleverly written by Observer columnist Richie Whitt, and a food blog, City of Ate, edited by masterful managing editor Patrick Williams. Just last week, City of Ate was nominated for a James Beard Award, one of the most prestigious honors in food journalism. And our staff writers have won national and regional writing awards too numerous to mention in this post.

Our web traffic has grown exponentially; each month we receive roughly 4 million page views at dallasobserver.com. I am particularly proud of how well our long-form print stories do online, defying conventional wisdom that Internet users only want to read what's short, whimsical and immediate.

Oh, there are things I won't miss: the incessant drumbeat for instant content to feed the beast, the fiscal restraint I had to exercise to feed the beast during a recession and the silence that seizes rollicking conversation among my staff as the boss approaches to see what the good time's all about.

I am proud of all we have accomplished, the stories we have told, the battles we have fought (I'm thinking Jim Schutze here), the times we have shared. I will miss it all, the good and the bad of it, but I know I am leaving the paper in good hands. There will be no gap in coverage or commitment as another editor is waiting in the wings. I will say no more, but readers can look forward to an announcement soon.

In the meanwhile, for me, it's time to start the next chapter of my life, and I am fortunate to have a wonderful wife and three terrific kids with whom to do it. So in the words of the immortal Groucho Marx, "I'm glad I came but just the same/ I must be going."
My Voice Nation Help
25 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
WAGster
WAGster

Wow. Good luck in your future endeavors. We will be looking for where you land.

Ex-Dallasite
Ex-Dallasite

I've had my issues with the DO and its blogs in the past, but then I moved out to Phoenix and have had the displeasure of reading one of Village Voice's sister papers, New Times.

And to all UP readers: if you ever start to think that this blog is bad, surf on over to New Times' comparable blog "Valleey Fever." It is a wailing, narrow-minded, never-met-a-potshot-it-didn't-like whinefest that's sooooo left wing it makes Jim Schutze look like Karl Rove.

Ex-Dallasite
Ex-Dallasite

P.S. Donald - you're not leaving to become editor at New Times, are you? Wow, that would be awkward.

But it really does suck.

Lee Rognlie
Lee Rognlie

Unfair Park and DO's other blogs have set the standard in this city for local coverage. One major competitor continually looks in the mirror, flexes their muscles and believe they provide relevant news and commentary. They do for two towns, HP and UP. Stay hard DO and god bless Dallas' own Big Bob!

Robert_trevor
Robert_trevor

Goodbye & good riddance. Donald ran off Glenna Whitley, Andrea Grimes, Megan, and others.What goes around comes around.

Joanne R
Joanne R

Where'd Glenna go?

I forgot about her. She was pretty good. Not that Andrea and Megan aren't good, too, but I completely forgot about Glenna.

MattPulle
MattPulle

Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed getting to write for Mark and that I hope the new editor realizes what a talented staff he's inheriting.

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

Hey Matt....(do you miss me?)

Might I just add that I hope the next editor realizes what an awesome group of commenters he/she is inheriting.

down-townie
down-townie

In the last couple of months, that's Grimes, Raskin, Bailey and now Mark Donald gone. Will Wilonsky soon be putting the paper out by himself? Or are we going to be reading a similar post next week about his "other career opportunities?"

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

We have a paper?

Gabe
Gabe

I imagine the RW version of the Dallas Observer to be comprised of nothing but vintage photos of Dallas's architecture and history, references to old rock shows played here, and strip club ads. AND IT WILL BE AWESOME.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Not to mention overlong items about infrastructure and the doings of the City Plan Commission, complete with replat overlays. In other words: Buddy Magazine.

J
J

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

The Dallas Observer is the most important publication regarding the city of Dallas its affairs and future, you should proud of the work done. Good luck.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Are you the guy who dropped all the syndicated featurettes/cartoons/columns from the DO? The removal of those have coincided with my flagging interest in the print edition. I imagine those are expensive, and would love to hear a bit more of the calculus behind that decision. I'm also married now and not dining out like when I was a kid. But, I noticed a fall off in these items maybe 15 years ago. The DO and Austin Chron. ran the same horoscopes, Rob Brezney (I thing) and all the cartoons. I loved and miss those, and really enjoy getting that from a tangible rag.

You should be commended for the extraordinary web-presence. And, I guess you're not the guy to blame, you do thankless, anonymous work, good luck with your future endeavors.

Sam M.
Sam M.

I hope this isn't because you're distraught about Noah W. Bailey.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...