Posted by: marcmwm | April 25, 2009

This man (not me) is going away

This was moments after the Iowa-Indiana game this year at Bloomington. The animals were harmed during this production.
This was moments after the Iowa-Indiana game this year at Bloomington. The animals were harmed during this production.


This is former Gazette photographer Jonathan Woods. And no, this is not why he is former.

This was minutes after the final gun at the Iowa-Indiana game this year. Here was Jonathan’s crime, walking out on the field and pointing at his press pass. This rubbed the bald dude in the photo the wrong way. Words were exchanged. There’s another couple frames. I’m off to the left. The look on my face says, “how am I going to get the photographer out of jail in time to catch the charter back to CR?”

This wasn’t the first time I’ve thought that about a co-worker on the road. But we won’t go there (no, it wasn’t me, Mr. Gazette).

Friends and co-workers said goodbye to Jonathan on Friday night. He’s off to NYC for a gig with MSNBC. If Kong goes back up the Empire State, Jonathan will provide stills, video and might get a quick interview. Cedar Rapids wasn’t going to keep him. That’s not a knock on CR. That’s how this works.

We — journalists, sportswriters, photographers, editors and whatnot — move until we find something somewhere that’s right for us, be it home, fit or the ultimate challenge. The operative here is “move.” We suck the marrow out of job and move until we find what we’re looking for.

I used to call them “victory laps.” You tell your bosses you’re leaving and then you work two weeks knowing you’re gone.

I ran the victory lap in Fairmont, Minn., Ottumwa and Dubuque. I was only in Fairmont for  four or so months, so it was like, “who’s he?” We ate lunch at a chain restaurant I can’t remember. I do remember people who cared and a snowstorm that dropped 35 inches. In Ottumwa, I put in my two weeks and then was told to get out a day or two later. The Dubuque goodbye was cool. They gave me a pretty nice putter. Good people who cared about doing good work.

I miss the farewell parties. They’re few and far between these days.

Some people are genuinely happy at these things. Some people feel a tinge of jealousy, and that’s good. Some people get all lampshade and reminisce.

Not really Hawkeye, I know, but I wanted to get this out. I left Friday night before the lampshades came out and just before the fire-juggling 20-something did her thing (I didn’t make that up).

By the way, Jonathan didn’t end up in jail because of the above photo.

Always thinking this  guy, he quickly handed me his memory chip before being escorted somehwere I didn’t know. So, we’ll have photos, but what about the charter, which was scheduled to leave in about two hours? I made my way back up to the press box, looking for the SID guy to ask about bail.

The first face I see is Woods. He nodded, smiled and worked as if nothing happened.

Hunter S. Thompson was right.

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

Thanks for a fun night, Jonathan. Good luck.



  1. I’ve always wondered about this photo but never got around to asking.

    I’ve attended my fair share of farewells having previously worked at a “revolving door” newspaper that often served as a stepping stone for some very good journalists (although some good journalists remain there). This post says it all, for Jonathan and all of us who have left and been left behind.

    Best of luck Jonathan — “may the wind always be at your back.”

  2. Well, House, then you missed a hell of a fire-breathing show. That Woods sure can party! Who woulda known that he could turn his going-away shindig into a Kiss concert.?

  3. Who took this photo? An Iowa alum and former DI guy now snaps for the IU athletic department – Michael Dickbernd. People move around, but the UI produces a lot of talent.

  4. I’m not sure who took the photo, Marc. There are some shots with a bearded sportswriter off to the left with a slightly perplexed look on his face. Couldn’t find those.

  5. You wore a red shirt that day? To a game at Indiana? Or is that your white sleeve?

  6. Naw, that’s ‘House in the white. You can almost see the polo pony from his Ralph Lauren.
    Good post, though. Reminds me of my last day. No lampshade or fire-breathing, but really good cake. Ummmm, caaaaakkkke. Thanks again for the jersey, I’m wearing it on my Facebook picture.

  7. Doug, no red shirt. Believe me, I always dress without slant. No red vs. ISU and Wisconsin. Never black, but an occasional yellow. No maize, ever. I don’t believe I own that shade of MSU green. I have gray, but no scarlett. And I don’t own any orange.

    I hope to make out that well on my last day, Pud’n.

  8. Marc, I believe the photo was shot by Matt from that other paper down in Iowa City.

  9. I’m glad to see a Press Citizen photo running on the Gazette blogs! Thanks for putting it up there House!

  10. Photo by Matt Holst/Iowa City Press-Citizen (thanks Matt)

  11. Matt, if you want me to delete it, let me know.

    If you don’t, I couldn’t find that closeup with the really, really PO’d look on JW’s face. You know the one.

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