Two weeks after a longstanding San Francisco Chronicle columnist retired to great fanfare, an interview reveals that the beloved writer might have been forced into dropping the pen.
As previously noted, SF Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll filed his last column for the paper on November 19, 33 years after he joined the publication. As befits a departing legend, the newspaper published a multitude of tributes and threw the 72-year-old a newsroom shindig. But in an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review from Wednesday, Carroll suggested that he was pushed out of the city's paper of record.
When asked "Why did you decide to retire?" Carroll responded "It’s a complicated question. Let me put it this way, it was not entirely voluntary, but I was offered a choice and I took it."
It's possible that Carroll's absence from a newsroom desk played a part in his departure, as he says that "I’m very much in favor of writing at home. That was one of the issues with the Chronicle and me. For 25 years I’d write at home, and the idea that it would be useful for me to write somewhere else is nonsense."
"When I was at a newsroom, being out of the office was considered to be a good thing, absorbing whatever it is you were supposed to be absorbing."
"Let’s put it this way," Carroll said, "All of the features of corporate bureaucracy have come to dominate the newspaper business, which used to work on a slightly more informal basis. It wasn’t like a factory."
But if you feel bad for Carroll after his possible shove out the 901 Mission door, don't.
"I have to say," Carroll says, "that now that it’s happened, I couldn’t be happier."