Our ship will come in.
Those are the words Tracy and I used to say all the time. Well, she'd say it and later during a particular rough time, I'd ask: "So, where's the damn ship??" I started with the company in 1995. Back then we had Outlines monthly and Nightlines weekly. We joked that when we were older, we'd publish Agelines. We all did everything in those days from delivery to sales to helping with layout ( on giant boards with wax ) to covering events, photos, ad design and everything in between. The changes in technology from then to now is staggering. We had a stat camera ( used to make photos copy ready ) that took up a room. We took giant boards to the printer to get the paper printed. A deadline was truly a deadline.
I ended up working for the paper after someone at a Dining Out for Life dinner told me that Outlines was looking for a sales person. I was already a faithful reader of Outlines and I was in need of a job that I could feel good about. I was very excited about the prospect of working in the community. I met with Tracy and about 3 minutes after I was there, she asked when I could start. That was the beginning of our now 25-year working relationship and friendship.
While I have always been a news junkie, I never planned on working for a newspaper. I came from a sales background. I believe that to sell something, one has to really believe in the product. This was not a problem for me selling all of the publications. I've loved them all and believed in our message in its entirety. I'm proud of all the different publications we've had over the years.
I've learned a lot over my 25 years here. Aside from learning things like graphics programs, I learned how to go with the flow a bit ( not one of my strong suits ) and I learned that many of Tracy's seemingly pie in the sky ideas actually come to fruitionthe Gay Games in Chicago, buying the Windy City Times, the March on Springfield for Marriage Equality to name a few.
No one gets rich working for a community newspaper. Newspapers, in general, have had a very tough time. And while our ship never did come in, we did have a great ride and we brought a ton of people with us. Outlines, WCT, etc. has employed hundreds of people over the years and many at a point when they really needed it. From employing people to reporting on and covering the entire community to helping promote all the non-profits and their missions, to working for change for all LGBTQ+ people, it's been an honor to work for a company that truly believes in serving our community.