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Bill Cotterell retiring after 45 years



Huge congratulations to Bill Cotterell, senior political writer for the Tallahassee Democrat on his upcoming retirement. Florida journalism will be poorer as a result, but I suspect we'll continue to see him often, hopefully still walking up to podiums and pointing that little camera in people's faces. From his latest column:

cotterell.jpg...I've been lucky to have a front-row seat for an era of major change in the South, from the tail end of the civil rights movement to the dawning of all this new media. In the Old Capitol, we had manual typewriters and House or Senate pages, who carried our two or three stories per day to teletype operators in the sub-basement. Last Wednesday, I sent about 20 "tweets," Facebook notes and online updates from the Florida Supreme Court in three hours.

As an old print guy, I'm supposed to disdain the superficial, trivial "content providers" that we've become. Not me. From hot-lead type to Twitter, I think it's gotten better, overall.

Since deciding to hand in my papers at the end of March, I've often recalled a night when I was 13, growing up in Miami. We went to visit my brother, a Marine at Pensacola, and I remember being awakened to see the state Capitol.

I stared until I couldn't see it anymore, figuring I'd never see it again. Oddly, I didn't think of that when I got here 13 years later, as a young reporter. The memory came back just a while ago, driving up Apalachee Parkway.

I'm no longer awed by the Capitol, but I still feel lucky to work there.

Not having to go anywhere in the morning for the first time since 1967 will be weird, at least at first. I hope to keep my building passes and do some writing, maybe continue columnizing.

My retirement plan includes being a grandfather, too. My son in the Navy, and his wife, recently told us they're expecting in August.

Like I said, I'm a lucky guy.

[Last modified: Monday, March 5, 2012 11:40am]


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