Bye, Rebecca.

Monday, February 21st, 2000

It just doesn’t seem that long ago when I was reading in Patrick’s column a heartfelt goodbye to Rebecca Poynor Burns. The one-time Atlanta Press managing editor—and Media Rare columnist—was off to Atlanta magazine, leaving her weekly column in the hands of, well…me, some guy who hadn’t done this kind of thing in many, many years.
(Why? Some say it’s because I’m her brother-in-law. Some say it’s because I let her use the name of my old column—Media Rare—in the first place. Some say it was because she wanted to stick Patrick and friends with someone who can’t meet deadlines. Take your pick.)
Rebecca went off to Atlanta magazine and basically did what she did here—the work of three people. She edited, brainstormed, lassoed freelancers and cajoled art directors, and in her remaining free time, wrote some great pieces for the monthly.
And now, we get to say goodbye to her again, as she and her family (and three cats) head up the road to Indianapolis, where, surprise, the Emmis Communications people (Atlanta‘s owners) have their corporate offices and a magazine called Indianapolis Monthly. Rebecca is their new editor, settling in at the top of the masthead. If you read Atlanta, you’ll miss her work. If you’re a Hoosier, you’re in luck. And if you’re looking for a loft in Inman Park, there’s one more on the market.
I kinda feel sorry for Rebecca. Never again will she experience the pleasure (and pride) that our whole town feels when a new Maxie Price commercial debuts ("Look! This time he has a pig named Spot!")—they’ll be dancing in Monroe and Loganville, but not Indianapolis.
She won’t mark the seasons as we do, with the ceremonial changing of Monica Kaufman’s hair. She’ll miss the daily dose of warmth and gosh-darn-it-all goodness that Neal Boortz brings to our mornings, and we all know an afternoon without the mellow basso profundo of Clark Howard is, well, like orange juice without ketchup. (And heck, I’m sure Boortz will be syndicated up there before too long—Indiana’s a paradise for Libertarians.)
The ongoing evolution of Paul Ossman’s fashion sense won’t make it above the Mason-Dixon line, and Ken Cook’s sweaters will be but a distant memory as she layers her family for the subzero Indiana winters.
I know she’ll feel a certain lack when her transplanted television no longer beams out an endless parade of reporters standing watch outside a darkened City Hall East whenever a story with the word "police" in it breaks, and I can only hope that the stations up north have at least a Super Double Ultra Doppler 9000 on par with the fine overpromoted meteorological equipment we lucky Atlantans have at nearly all of our news stations. She’s going to miss out on those Things You’ll See Only on Two, and those Fox 5 Exclusives, and that stuff Eleven Wants You to Know.
And of course, she’ll have to make do without the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. The papers up north cover nothing like the dew, and I’m sure they don’t allot the generous space the AJC does each day to the thoughtful, well-formed civic discourse that is the essence of The Vent. Would other papers have the courage to move actual news out of the way for these ramblings? I think not. And Rebecca will no doubt want to have a copy or two of the AJC sent her way periodically to remind her if nothing else of the importance of fact-checking and copyediting.
She’ll have to make do in a town devoid of publications with "Loafing" in their titles—where will she turn to find out who’s been arrested for throwing an empty vodka bottle at a police officer on Ponce at 4 am? Well, maybe it’s on the web.
And speaking of the web—maybe it will be the tool to help ease her family’s transition. Atlanta’s media websites, live cams, and the alt.atlanta newsgroup delivers a lot of what Atlanta’s about to audiences everywhere…even Indianapolis, I think. And the best news of all: now that Atlanta Press has its web act together, she’s never more than a click away from a weekly dose of Hollis.
So I think they’ll do just fine.