Features copy desk chief gets picked off

Dateline: Thu 09 Jul 2009

John Hawn, a 30-year veteran of the Indianapolis Star and the head of the features copy desk, has lost his job, along with features copy editor Marisol Gouveia.

To both of them, to all of those fired: there is a better life out there.

But what a shame. Hawn ran a seamless copy desk and is an extremely hard and proficient worker. Marisol had a future there, until this. To both of them: tap your creative sides and  move on....


John Hawn [unverified] said:

Thank you, everyone, for all the kind words and messages.

My only regret is for the people left behind, and the scary challenges they will face. I'm especially sorry I was not there when Marisol received the news. Not only is she a versatile, quick-learning and talented individual, she was on the verge of doing some great things for The Star. And everyone loved her. I think the decision to cut her loose will be rued.

2009-07-09 14:01:17

Deb Strzeszkowski [unverified] said:

Hey John. I'm so sorry about your lay off. I always enjoyed working with you -- you are unflappable! I wish you the best in the future.

2009-07-09 14:57:55

Gary Welsh [unverified] said:

Ruth, What's up with the online archives section of indystar.com? I used to use it frequently for research, but most of the archives have now been removed from online access prior to 2006. Some of the best stories were contained in those archives that have been dumped. If the archives are well-maintained, it serves as a revenue-generator for the paper. Limiting access to them makes it next to useless.

2009-07-09 15:46:24

Chris Lloyd [unverified] said:

John was and is the consummate professional, as displayed by his remarks above. I have never seen a copy desk as seamless as the one at the Star features department, and it was because of John and Marisol and others like them. My best wishes to them all.

2009-07-09 15:48:56

Ellen McKinney [unverified] said:

John and Marisol, I'm so sorry this happened to you. It's a huge mistake for the company to get rid of talented, hard-working, dedicated people who also happen to be very pleasant to work with. (It's nothing new, of course -- it's standard gannett procedure.) Call me if there's anything I can do -- starting with buying you a beer!

2009-07-09 15:53:33

John O'Neill [unverified] said:

I wanted to add my condolences for John, who was always a pleasure to work with -- unflappable and talented.

2009-07-09 16:04:31

George McLaren [unverified] said:


From one of your former rim rabbits, let me add how sorry I was to hear the news, and how perfectly inexplicable it is. You are, as others pointed out, the portrait of professionalism, unflappable and funny. What a loss for the paper. All the best going forward but at least you will go knowing how much your colleagues (and former colleagues) appreciated all that you did -- and how you did it.


2009-07-09 16:10:25

Christy Thompson [unverified] said:

I'm so sorry to hear this!

John, it was always a pleasure working with you. It's a sad day for the Star.

And Ruth ... was misspelling "features" in your hed intentional? :)

2009-07-09 16:18:16

Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp [unverified] said:

John -- so sorry to hear this news. Indeed, you (and Craig Ito) were always a great part of the Star copy desk. As each of you goes through the door, the institutional memory goes, too.

All the best.


2009-07-09 16:41:59

Mike Ehret [unverified] said:

Institutional memory? There is no institutional memory anymore...gone are the days when the Liz Brown's and Skip Hess's of the world would just KNOW when something was wrong -- but would, of course, check it anyway. I cite News people only because that's who I knew best.

2009-07-09 16:51:11

ruthholl [Member] said:

Can someone answer Gary Welsh's question on the archives?
I join with everyone else in echoing the tributes posted here and elsewhere.

2009-07-09 17:13:50

Craig Sanders [unverified] said:

I, too, am a former rim rabbit who worked alongside John Hawn and am shocked to see that he was let go. John was one of the best copy editors I worked with. I still remember the daily messages he'd send out quoting a portion of a song lyric and then challenging us to guess who sang it. Can't believe it would come to this for someone who was so talented.

2009-07-09 20:53:13

indykjsharp [Member] said:

The Indianapolis Marion County Public Library has The Star's archives in its iLibrary online database: http://www.ilibrary.org/cgi-bin/ilib_authorize.pl. All you need is your library card number to log in. And you can print full text of the articles there.

2009-07-10 07:33:41

Nick Crews [unverified] said:

John was at the Star when I hired in as a 18-year old copyboy in 1978 and there when I returned as an arts reporter more than 20 years later. He is a class act, dedicated professional and wonderful guy. No one should have to end a 30-year career this way.

2009-07-10 07:42:21

slberry [Member] said:

John was the kind of copy editor every writer needs-- a professional who could both write and edit with equal skill. He was a huge asset to the Star's features department-- and to the newspaper as a whole. Welcome to the huge community of ex-Star people who've found better lives outside the newsroom, John.

2009-07-10 07:53:54

Mary Ann Whitley [unverified] said:

John, I am so sorry and depressed to hear that you were laid off. It's a shame what newspapers are going through right now and how many of my colleagues around the country have suffered. I think you were the slot person when I started on the copy desk in, let's see, 1986? (I left in 1991.) A great person to work with, very talented, and I learned to appreciate your wry sense of humor. Still remember how, on the old Atex system, you had the slogan on your computer screen, "Drrrop the coin right into the slot." Take care, my thoughts are with you. -- Mary Ann (still employed so far as a copy editor at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland)

2009-07-10 08:19:51

George Stuteville [unverified] said:


I wish it would have ended differently for you. There was no one better than you. I cannot even begin to count all the times you saved me.

2009-07-10 08:22:27

Kathy Berg Bates [unverified] said:


My heart goes out to you and Mary and all my other Star buddies. You have given them your all, and this is a terrible way to treat that kind of loyalty and dedication.

I wish you well.

Kathy Berg Bates

2009-07-10 09:34:14

John Hawn [unverified] said:

Again, thank you for the support and the memories. Rim rabbits. I haven't heard that phrase in years! For some of you who commented, if you wish to get in touch with me, you can do so at jl.kato@sbcglobal.net. (Long story about the name. If you wish to know about it, you'll have to e-mail me. I'd like to know how each of you are doing.)So long, and thanks for all the fish. (At least one of you will get this inside joke.)

2009-07-12 21:26:09

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