A journalist’s rite of passage

I remember editor Peter Gregutt helping my writing recover from four years of grad-school jargon and two years of technical writing. I remember the excitement of working on emerging social issues, such as the gay rights movement (still a work in progress). I remember thinking that my job was to “take down the bad guys” and learning that there are no bad guys, just fellow humans with different points of view.

I remember the transition from Green Line to Xpress, when we suddenly had to do in a few days what we had been doing in weeks. I remember the change from writing mostly environmental stories to a mix of political, investigative and social stories. I remember the outcry when Xpress started to allow (shudder) opinion pieces from “the bad guys.”

I remember Elwood Miles, the owner and manager of the Miles Building, walking the building with a giant ring of keys, looking for things that needed cleaning or repairing. I remember Julian Price bringing a Danish expert in to help with creating pedestrian-friendly urban outdoor spaces to Asheville. The Dane’s slideshow of European street cafés and pedestrian malls was my first inkling of what Julian had in mind for the future of Asheville.

Calvin Allen is a retired reporter who worked for Green Line and Mountain Xpress, and served as the executive director of the Fund for Investigative Reporting and Editing.


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