Now that he’s at the doorway, a fond farewell to a colleague

Actor Alan Alda once offered a memorable observation of human behavior. In a commence address at Connecticut College, where his daughter was graduating, Alda said: “Deep in our hearts we know the best things said come last. People will talk for hours saying nothing much and then linger at the door with words that come from the heart. Doorways, it seems, are where the truth is told.”

A colleague is at the doorway here at the Business Times for perhaps the last time and might not return for the foreseeable future. I’d be remiss if, after nearly six years, I didn’t share some truths about our experiences.

Mike Moran has joined what’s turned into a coincidental stampede of people in the Grand Valley changing roles. In his case, Mike leaves behind his duties as a reporter at the Business Times to instruct students at Colorado Mesa University. Mike will continue to teach speechmaking courses as well as coach the speech and debate team, only now on a full-time basis. There are those who might say Mike has moved up several rungs on the evolutionary ladder. I prefer a different metaphor: He’s gone in search of higher mountains to climb.

Mike joined the Business Times in 2005, increasing staffing by 33 percent. He initially concentrated on advertising sales. But with his long and varied experiences in radio and television journalism, he couldn’t suppress for long his passion for reporting news. His first story appeared in print in October 2005, offering coverage of a Grand Junction appearance by nationally syndicated radio commentator and author Neal Boortz.

Mike subsequently and significantly expanded his role as a reporter. Besides providing nearly all the copy for the targeted-content sections that appear in each issue, Mike frequently wrote the lengthy cover stories that addressed in depth what I considered the most important news of that issue.

That’s not to mention the other duties Mike assumed, such as organizing roundtable meetings with business and community leaders or sharing breaking news by e-mail with a growing group of readers. Twice a month, Mike delivered the Business Times to the nearly 150 free distribution points scattered throughout the Grand Valley.

Like the proverbial blacksmith who makes the most of his time by keeping a multitude of irons in the fire, Mike remained just as busy with other responsibilities. Besides teaching speechmaking courses and coaching the speech and debate team on a part-time basis, he helped his wife, Toni, operate her real estate business. Mike has been active in community service as well through his efforts with the Kiwanis Club, United Way of Mesa County and Western Colorado Botanical Gardens. He’s also been involved with the MBA alumni committee at Colorado Mesa University, where he earned that degree.

In addition to his tireless work ethic, Mike brought both a fearlessness and sense of fairness to his job as a journalist. Mike was unafraid to ask the tough question or broach a touchy subject regardless of how prominent the source. But Mike never did so with any agenda in mind other than to seek the answers to questions Business Times readers, many of them business owners and managers, were pondering themselves. Mike was unfailingly fair. He always sought out both sides to a story or issue and reported those opposing perspectives.

Like any good journalist, Mike worked hard to report information first, to get the “scoop.” But he was just as dogged in his determination to advocate for the broadest possible dissemination of important information to the news media — and, in turn, the public — when that information involved tax dollars or publicly elected officials. Mike constantly questioned why agencies and organizations that receive tax dollars aren’t more forthcoming with news releases and news conferences to inform the media and citizenry about important developments.

Mike inspired at the Business Times more critical coverage of business news — not in the sense of finding fault, but in more carefully evaluating the circumstances at hand.

For now, though, Mike Moran is headed through the doorway of the Business Times and into a future I have no doubt holds for him continued success.

As Alda stated in his commencement address: “It’s the end of something and the beginning of something else. And my guess is there will be a lot of lingering at the door today with the hope that one of us will say something that will somehow express what can’t be said in words.”