Friday, February 24, 2006

Hot News: Baby Talk.

Hey Gang,

So I suppose the "news" mentioned above is in a very loose sense, since it refers to something that happened Sunday evening. Shame on me for being a bad reporter, but don't let that get in the way of the extremely awesome news that our friend, colleague and member Sandra Barrera is now the proud mama of young Sophia Paz. The lovely Sophia is a slender 6 lbs, 11 oz and 19.5 inches tall. Her mother, always good at meeting deadlines, delivered three hours after arriving at the hospital with none of that pesky medication to get in the way.

Please join me in congratulating the entire family-- if Sophia turns out to be anywhere as pleasant, kind and cool as her mom, she'll be a darn cool kid. Good luck with those middle of the night feedings, pal, but if you can handle the red carpet at awards shows, this'll be a breeze.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Monday Matters

Greetings to All,

I apologize for missing my usual Sunday ruminations, which I know you all anxiously await. After lording it over everyone I knew that I hadn't gotten sick this year, I have, in fact, gotten sick and have been enjoying my planned three-day weekend in a semi-stupor. If the rest of the email doesn't make sense (or, at least, makes less sense than I normally do), I'm very sorry.

First off, I've been informed as of Friday that we've finally got our Daily News-specific bank account set up. I will try it out for a month or so to ensure it's working safely, then we'll begin transitioning everyone over so we don't have to deal with this cumbersome mail-in dues process.

In the meantime, however, for those of you who haven't paid your February dues yet, please make out your checks for 2.25 times your hourly rate to CWA Local 9400 and mail them to CWA local 9400, attn: Vicki DiPaolo, 7844 Rosecrans Ave. Paramount, Ca. 90723. Once again, this is on your honor-- and I was pleased to hear from the folks at the local that nearly everyone paid on time last month, so keep up the good work.

In other news, we now have signed, official copies of the current contract, which we'll be distributing throughout the newsroom this week. Those of you who aren't in Woodland Hills will receive yours through the mail soon. Nothing majorly different than the draft copies that some of you already have, but it's good to have the real, actual document to refer to. Also, you can watch the signatures get larger and progressively sloppier, turning the pages into something like the Declaration of Independence. By the end, my name looks like a Richter printout during an earthquake.

And finally, it has been a godawful long time since we've gotten together outside of work to kick back. This time, we're going to do it in two parts, since not everyone's a day-side staffer and we love you night folks, too. I'll check around and see when's convenient, but what we'll probably do is have a night get-together next week, then a Sunday afternoon one in a few weeks. Location and time to be determined soon-- perhaps that new pool place over at the Promenade? Suggestions, as always, are welcome.

In closing, I also wanted to say how good it made me feel to see so many of you guys at Tim's memorial on Saturday. Though the weather was beautiful, it was just about the last reason you ever want to come together. But as the guy sitting in the back, seeing everyone there, paying tribute to a truly decent guy, it reminded me that this isn't just a place to pull a paycheck and spend our days and nights at-- it's a community and a family. You're the ones that make it so good.

Thanks for listening,

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Beyond Just a Job.

Hi Guys,

What do you say when your coworker dies? Whether it's the guy you passed in the hall or a close friend, it really hits you. If you haven't read Lisa Mascaro's moving obituary of Tim Fairholm (reprinted below on the blog or online at:, it's definitely worth your time. You get a little slice of the guy who helped us through god knows how many computer problems, smiled as you wandered by Photo and meant a lot to many people who work here.

When Ron called us around to share the news of Tim's death, he hit it dead on when he called it a tragedy. Those of us lucky enough to know Tim will remember him as a kind, generous, witty, helpful guy. Many people in the newsroom could call him a good friend-- I realize now that I missed out by not taking the chance to get to know him better. To lose someone so young, so smart, so genuine would be horrible in any circumstance, but it hits especially hard when it's someone who's been such a calming, steady presence at the paper for so long. And even more so because it was Tim.

There have been many tense, emotional moments at work, many times when people have broken down and lost their composure, but none quite like that Monday meeting where we learned he was gone. I've never seen so many people with tears in their eyes or felt the air sucked right out of the room like that. As Ron says in the obituary, it's like losing a member of the family.

And he's right, in many ways. It's not just that it's sad that a great guy like Tim should die so young, but that he's left a hole in the community of which we're all part. Like it or not, the Daily News is like a family. It's a strange family, a dysfunctional family, one that makes mistakes and fights and butts heads and acts stubbornly, but it's a family nonetheless. It can be a wonderful family, too, one that brings us all together in pursuit of a common goal. We all invest so much of ourselves in that place every day, spending time away from our real, actual families, that you can't help but feel like it's more than just a 9-to-6 (or a 3-to-12, in many cases) job.

This isn't my usual kind of message, where I extol the virtues of organized labor and tell people to join the union. Tim was management, not a union guy, but at times like this, that doesn't matter in the slightest. He was one of us, a guy who gave it his all for a job, loved the friends he worked with and died before many of us ever got the chance to thank him just for being who he was.

When you lose someone like that, it's not just that a desk light in the corner will be switched off or there'll be one less guy to bail you out when your computer crashes. We've lost a part of our lives. Those of you who called him your friend, consider yourselves blessed-- in talking to some of you in the last week, it's clear that he was an extremely special, loyal, devoted friend who you were all lucky to know. Everyone should be so fortunate to have someone like that.

So what do you do, what do you say? You've got to look around at the friends you have left and be thankful for them. You've got to take a deep breath the next time work gets to you and remember that there are more important things out there. And we've all got to look out for each other, during hard times like this and good times alike. We've lost a good guy this week, one who can never be replaced, so treasure his memory, hang onto each other and hope that we can all learn from the shy, quiet guy in the corner.

Thanks for listening.


Goodbye, Tim.

Normally, I wouldn't post a full article on here, but given the circumstances, this warrants re-posting.

Daily News systems editor remembered fondly by all
By Lisa Mascaro, Staff Writer

For his 40th birthday, Tim Fairholm got Paris.
It was just a whirlwind tour through the City of Lights, but the one-day excursion arranged by his best friend was the perfect end to his trip to London to celebrate the big 4-0.

Fairholm, computer systems editor for the Daily News, died Feb. 6 at UCLA Medical Center from complications of lupus, an autoimmune disease he had battled quietly for much of his adult life.

Jen Martin, his former roommate and longtime friend who arranged the birthday getaway last spring, said he had been debating between London or Paris - but she decided he should see both.

"He was the best friend that everybody should have," Martin said. "When I found out Tim was gone, my first instinct was to call Tim. I can't do that anymore."

Tim had just celebrated his 10th anniversary with the Daily News, where he worked as systems editor for the Daily News and seven other Southern California papers that comprise the Los Angeles Newspaper Group. He was known in all the newsrooms as an unflappable computer guru who could solve just about any request with his quick wit and easy style.

"Tim's loss is like a death in the family," said Daily News Editor Ron Kaye. "He had a gentle spirit and light humor that made him universally loved. He was a skilled member of the team and always helpful to everyone on the staff."

Timothy Rex Fairholm was born April 25, 1965, in Orem, Utah, the youngest of five children born to Rulon and Barbara Fairholm. He graduated from Weber State University in Ogden, and later went to work at the Utah County Journal.

Fairholm came to Los Angeles in 1994, while working for a company that provided computer training to newsroom personnel at the Daily News. One look at Southern California's glorious weather and he was hooked.

He was hired in 1995 as the Daily News' systems editor, handling the range of computer and technical needs faced daily by reporters, editors and designers. He later worked as the paper's pre-press manager, before being promoted to systems editor for LANG.

Martin recalled him explaining his interest in L.A. to her relatives.

"He said, 'One of the things that I absolutely love about Los Angeles is there are a million different languages, a million different people of different colors,"' she said. "He loved that about Los Angeles, that there were all walks of life here. On every street corner you could see everything."

Fairholm began experiencing health problems in his 20s, suffering symptoms that would later be diagnosed as lupus. However, he rarely let family or friends see him struggle.

"He tried to not let it rule his life," said his eldest sister, Diana Hall of Provo, Utah. "He just tried to be happy and do the things that made him happy. Being with friends and family made him happy. Being with people who cared about him and he cared about."

Once he moved to California, his siblings and their families frequently visited.

"I'm sure he was sick to death of Disneyland, but still he would meet us there two or three times a year," Hall said.

Hall's daughter, Wrandi Greenwalt, now 31, of Orem, remembers wanting a clown for her birthday party as a kid. Her then-teenage Uncle Tim learned to juggle and do magic tricks then donned a clown suit for her big day. He could already ride a unicycle.

The two also had an ongoing war of wits, and once he collected all of her right shoes in retribution for one of her earlier pranks.

"All of my cousins, my sisters, they all think they're Tim's favorite. I know I'm Tim's favorite. If you talk to anyone in the family, they'll say the same thing," said Greenwalt.

"When you're with Tim he just gives you all of his attention. He listens to what you have to say. He just makes you feel just so important.

"He took the time to get to know all of us and love all of us."

In addition to his parents, Fairholm is survived by his siblings, Diana Hall, David Fairholm, Susan Ferran and Kenny Fairholm.

A funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Orem. Flowers can be sent before 5 p.m. Monday to Walker Sanderson Funeral Home, 646 E. 800 N., Orem 84097.

In Los Angeles, a memorial is scheduled for 11 a.m. Feb. 18 at Will Rogers State Beach, 17700 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades.

Lisa Mascaro, (818) 713-3761