Roll Call Editor to USA Today

Roll Call lost its managing editor to USA Today this week. Thursday was Katie Smith’s last day on the job. She was employed there for eight years. Smith wrote a lengthy, heartfelt farewell note to colleagues. Sounds like she wore a lot of hats at the publication. She wrote, “It’s been an honor to bake for you, learn from you, and properly punctuate your copy. I could not have asked for a better first job or for better co-workers along the way.” She hopes her letter falls somewhere in between “overly sentimental and completely brilliant.”

Let’s see how she did.

From Katie Smith…

I’m refusing to say a lot of real goodbyes today because I’d rather do that over drinks on Tuesday, but I can’t eschew the farewell email tradition. I’ve been here long enough to read a LOT of these emails, and I can only hope this falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between overly sentimental and completely brilliant.

(I’ve also decided that after years of asking for your word counts and having to deal with your stories coming in long, I’m giving myself no limit on this.)

When I started working at Roll Call fresh off a copy-editing internship, I had NO idea that I would stay at this paper for eight years. (Also, Twitter didn’t exist and we posted almost nothing except our print content on the website, which makes me feel a bit ancient.)

The person who gets the most credit for my tenure here is Dave Meyers, who hired me, sometimes terrified me, and believed in me enough to advance my career here. No one bleeds Roll Call like Dave does; he passed that devotion along to a lot of people who worked for him, and every twentysomething should be lucky enough to have him as a first boss. I know I’m a much harder worker because of him.

It is particularly hard to leave the team of editors we’ve assembled right now. Rapp is an amazing advocate for Roll Call; you are all very lucky to work for an editor who is so open to your creative ideas and so willing to execute them. Roll Call is in excellent hands under his care. I’m convinced Pierce still has no idea how brilliant she is, even if all of you already know it. Jason tries to deny the fact that he’s totally our staff cheerleader/morale captain, but we all know that he is an integral part of what Roll Call is today.

In a job like mine, the people you rely on most are the behind-the-scenes heroes:

• Doug, Tom and Bill are, obviously, the most talented group of photographers on the Hill. These guys never have to be told who to chase and what the story of the day is — they’re all over it, no matter what. Their photography is a huge part of what sets Roll Call apart.

• Tom Whitmire is a total rockstar for all that he does to keep up and running (and putting up with all of the crazy requests from us). I have a huge amount of respect for all of the time and effort he has put into understanding our coverage and building our site around that. Having him in our corner has been an enormous asset both for our readers and for those of us spending our days in iPro Admin.

• And, finally, the copy desk. I love to brag about the fact that I hire great copy editors; there are no better examples of that than Sara and Cyra. I could not have possibly gotten through the past year without Sara. I have no doubt you all recognize her amazingness and grace under pressure, but you better treat her like a queen after I leave. (If not, I know where to find you.) Cyra has been an amazing worker bee from day one. I have told her a million times already that she is she is the ultimate team player, but I have to say it again here. I’ve loved watching her grow in her job and become our social media guru. These ladies are our last line of defense, and they sacrifice so many hours of their free time to keep our site updated and error-free. Please remember that (and check your Master List names).

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