Why did Doug Moe, longtime columnist for The Capital Times, switch jobs to write for the Wisconsin State Journal?
It wasn't about money; there was no bidding war for Moe's services between the two papers, as some have said. It wasn't about the Cap Times becoming an online publication with two weekly offshoots, although Moe admits he's partial to paper. It isn't even about being able to write for a larger audience, which Moe looks forward to.
It was really about the sense of hurt that Moe felt on learning he was not among the handful of Cap Times staffers whose jobs were assured. "I was told I would have to reapply for my position," he says. "That hit me very hard. So I stepped back and tried to consider my options." It wasn't ego that drove him; it was pain.
Moe had conversations with both a local TV station and the State Journal; the latter moved quickly to make him a deal. The Cap Times tried to get him to stay. Says Moe, "It was gut-wrenching for everybody."
The job-change news was announced last week Wednesday. On Friday, after Moe wrote his last Cap Times column, the staff held a small party for him, and wounds began to heal. "I feel like I'm friends with them," he says. "I wish them nothing but the best."
It sounds like a cliché, which columnists strive to avoid, but the feeling, no doubt, is mutual.