It's a stylistic flourish that dates back to the days when reporters would file stories they typed out on typewriters. (Quick show of hands: How many of you still know how to change typewriter ribbons? OK, how many of you worked with typewriters in the first place? Never mind.)
Within the journalism profession, it's become a tradition to label your farewell piece as the -30- column. Explanations vary. The one that I most like equates the number with a "sign of completion."
That's a nice poetic approach, though it's only nine years since I arrived at CNET in late 2000. Some of you may recall that I came over when ZDNet got acquired in a merger of two of the tech industry's biggest Internet publishers. Just in time for the bubble to burst and the economy to go bust. Nine years later and I'm changing company logos again--again just in time for the bubble to burst and the economy to go bust. Well, I was never very good about timing, but as the prophet says, this, too, shall pass.
Why, then, after all this time, am I bidding CNET News readers farewell? It has nothing to do with boredom. The story line that defines the technology business remains as fascinating as it was in 1985. That's when I began covering the retail side of the computer business for a trade weekly. (A weekly! How quaint.) Though I never did a statistical study, I'm willing to wager that this industry remains chockablock with more smart and interesting people per capita than any other. State secret: I always counted on being the dumbest person in the room during an interview. If I was sharp, it meant that I'd walk away having learned something new. How many people can look forward to the same?
Since I can hear the copy desk already grumbling "get to the 'lede' already," let's get to the meat of the matter. Yours truly is moving over to work on the CBS News Web site, where I'll be working on a terrifically exciting project. There will be more to say about that at a later time. What's more, I'm not going to completely disappear from the map. Fact is that you will still see my byline gracing CNET News from time to time (CBS, you'll remember, owns CNET), though this will be it as a regular gig for Coop's Corner.
Spring has finally sprung out here in San Francisco and I won't spoil it all by turning mawkish. Besides, you'll know where to find me. But before signing off one final time, I must tip my hat and acknowledge you, the readers, for making this one very rewarding ride. Sometimes we agreed, other times we parted ways, but throughout my tenure, your feedback always informed my writing and thinking. Even if I fell short the first time, your input helped me better approach a topic the next time around. It was a dialectic that I found invaluable.
Then again, isn't that the beauty of the Internet?