The following appeared in the final issue of EXTRA Bilingual Newspaper on Dec. 18, 2015.
While putting together our final print edition, I had the chance to dive into EXTRA’s 35 year history, where I discovered a few interesting things.
For instance, back in the 1990s the newspaper had a five-person office set up in the Little Village neighborhood in addition to the main office in Humboldt Park. During this period EXTRA had around 48 employees, 25 of them full-time. It was also during this period that I came across the name of the late Carlos Hernandez Gomez. He passed away in 2010 after losing a battle with colon cancer. He was 36.
While best known for his work covering local and national politics for WBEZ-FM and The Chicago Reporter before joining CLTV in 2005, he began his career in the 1990s at EXTRA. A fan of his since I was in high school, it blew my mind that Gomez, that dogged political reporter in an old-school fedora I admired, had worked at the publication that I interned at during college and would eventually become the managing editor of.
And looking at more recent history, Silvana Tabares, my managing editor during my internship at EXTRA in 2008, is currently an Illinois state representative for the 21st District. Meanwhile EXTRA’s production manager during my internship, Abel Arciniega, is now the official photographer for the Chicago Fire soccer team.
When I was hired as managing editor last year, anyone I spoke to who knew EXTRA’s history had told me it was an important first step to bigger and better things. They said this despite the slow death of print media and the ongoing struggle to monetize digital news content. While it’s unclear what the future holds for journalism, I do feel that my experience here, as first an intern, then a freelance reporter and now its final managing editor, has prepared me for anything my journalism career has to throw at me.
In closing I want to thank our readers, for diligently reading EXTRA over the years, and acknowledge that without them EXTRA would never have made it past its first edition. And to the newspaper’s current staff, I want to express my gratitude for sharing your considerable talents with EXTRA over the years and especially say thank you for working alongside me in my tenure, however brief, as your managing editor.
I have truly enjoyed my time here and I appreciate having had the opportunity to work alongside such talented, creative smart people. Ω