Associated Press dismisses its longtime director of news training

John Dowling, an Associated Press staffer for 35 years, lost his job as director of news training on Friday afternoon. “John’s email announcing the news to colleagues was remarkably philosophical, even generous,” writes the Romenesko reader who forwarded Dowling’s note:

Sent: Friday, November 07, 2014 4:46 PM
To:
Subject: FW: Me (from John Dowling)

Friends,

I got word this afternoon that my job has been eliminated, effective today.

How’s that for a wire-service lead? Very tight and direct, no attribution required. Writing with authority!ap

I will leave it to others to explain what the future holds for training at AP.

I had always assumed I would retire with AP, not too many years from now, and in an idle moment I had contemplated what I would say in parting. Why let good rhetoric go to waste?

AP is, has been and always will be an imperfect organization, but what we do, what you will keep doing, is really, really important. Sometimes it’s hard to keep that in sight amid all the … stuff. People need the truth about what’s going on in the world, to understand the forces that are shaping their lives. Your commitment to providing those things to humankind is the engine that keeps AP going, and I will always take pride in having been a part of that for, gulp, 35 years. And I hope, in having helped a few people grow as journalists and do better at what they got into the business to do.

I suspect I will come to not miss the job very much – long story — but I will surely miss the people, all of you and more who slipped my mind as I stared at my maps this afternoon thinking about whom I wanted to read this note. (As we say, please forward.) You are smart, creative, funny, irreverent, committed, full of integrity and loyalty, the best companions anyone could ask for. I am proud to have all of you as friends, and that will not change. I hope to see all of you sometime soon, and have a laugh and maybe a beverage, and find out what everyone has been doing.

To that end, how to reach me:

I am keeping my personal cell number, [redacted].

A couple of email addresses: [redacted]

And many of us are Facebook friends, so there’s that.

When people who were close to me left the AP, I usually said something like, If there’s ever anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to ask. So I say that to all of you now.

All the best for the future,

JD

* Read the tributes to Dowling on my Facebook wall (facebook.com)

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