Thank you, Lesley Conn

I had been contemplating writing something about Lesley Conn’s departure from the Savannah Morning News, but Lesley herself fittingly covered the news on her staff blog yesterday: Conn leaving the Savannah Morning News.

In the post, Conn reflects briefly on her time at the paper and publicly announces that she’ll be working for Gulfstream Aerospace. The company will be lucky to have her.

Lesley edited my column years ago — I found her always principled and professional. I would have loved to continue working with her, but then we would have missed the thrill of seeing so many fine pieces in recent years about Savannah city government. Lesley owned that city beat.

Lesley uncovered information that a less detailed oriented reporter might have missed. The accumulation of those details — especially in stories about our various city manager controversies — helped shape better public policy.

Lesley also came to speak twice to public affairs reporting classes that I teach every other year at Armstrong. As a columnist and blogger, I do a lot of public affairs work, but Lesley brought a special urgency to my classroom on those visits.

I hear a lot of cynicism about the motives of journalists these days. Those folks might not be so cynical if they could hear Lesley address a class of young writers.

I wish Lesley well in her future endeavors. I’m sure many people join me in saying that.