The time has come for me to say goodbye to regular readers of this column (both of you) and anyone else who has followed my work as a reporter, columnist and, once upon a time, an editor at the Coloradoan.
I have decided to retire from the paper — yes, I still call it “the paper” even though the Coloradoan has been primarily an online digital product for some time — a few months shy of my 25th anniversary. My last day will be Dec. 1.
In hopes of quashing conspiracy theories before they start, let me be clear. I am leaving of my own accord. I’m not being pushed out by the Coloradoan or its corporate owner, Gannett.
I have no gripes or grudges with the company or anyone who works here. My colleagues are like a second family to me, and I will deeply miss them, just as I will miss connecting with the many people I have come to know around Northern Colorado.
My coworkers, and this community, have treated me exceedingly well, especially during the last couple of years as I went through treatment for multiple myeloma.
The disease is in remission and I am feeling quite well, thank you. That’s one of the motivators for calling it quits now.
Experiencing cancer, covering the COVID-19 pandemic and seeing all the crazy random things that happen in life, I’ve learned one’s time on this planet is short. And I hope to enjoy the rest of mine without the stress of reporting the news of the day.
I want to push away from my desk and screens and take journeys with my dear wife, Lisa, around the state, country and world — when it is safe to do so again. Until then, I’m not sure what I will do with my time. But I’ll figure it out.
I got into journalism relatively late in life. I was in my early 30s and 10 years out from receiving an English degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder when I stumbled into it.
For years I had talked about writing novels and poems and such. But oddly enough, without a deadline, I didn’t get anything done. So, I worked a variety of jobs to make ends meet.
Eventually, journalism, which I was too cool for when I was at CU, suddenly seemed an expedient way to make a living as a writer.
I enrolled in journalism classes at Metropolitan State College in Denver to get much-needed education and experience. With the help of mentors there and at internships, which ranged from writing pamphlets for Colorado State Parks to covering breaking news at the Denver Post, I found a career.
I didn’t become a journalist to change the world or pursue an agenda. I just wanted to meet interesting people and tell their stories.
I worked at small papers in Conifer, Castle Rock and suburban Denver before coming to Fort Collins. Along the way, I found a niche covering local government, which has much more impact on the everyday lives of people than the state or federal governments.
Local governments and their policy decisions offer an endless supply of good stories. I enjoyed finding and reporting them with an eye toward giving readers information they would want to know.
When I came to the Coloradoan in 1996 to work as the city hall reporter, I expected to stay a few years and move on to a bigger paper. That was the way one built a successful career.
But then something unexpected happened: I grew to love Fort Collins and everything it had to offer. I found it was a great place to live and raise a family. Lisa and I were happy here, and that was reason enough to stay.
And now it’s time to go, at least from the Coloradoan. We’ll still be in town.
To a person, everyone I’ve spoken with about retirement has said one should have a plan to make it work. You don’t want to get bored, they said.
So, of course, as retirement looms, I have no plan.
There are plenty of chores to do around the house and I might learn to enjoy yardwork — maybe. Perhaps I’ll get the training and treatment needed to overcome my fear of plumbing repairs. I definitely want to become a more proficient cook.
Maybe I’ll write a book. Maybe I’ll write freelance articles. Maybe I’ll write an endless stream of overly long letters to the editor.
I’m not sure. But I will remain part of this community, and in the process, I hope, do some good. The community has been good to me, and I want to return the favor.
Thank you, gentle readers, for your support of me and the Coloradoan over the years.
I’ll see you around.
Kevin Duggan is a senior columnist and reporter. Contact him at email@example.com.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Duggan, from 2000: When the squirrels invade, time to get out the musical guns
Duggan, from 2016: Fake news should never drive reality
Duggan, from 2014: Some of the best dogs live on the other side of the fence