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Robert Wilonsky is Leaving the Observer for Something Called The Dallas Morning News

Yes, you read that correctly: Robert Wilonsky, the longtime editor of this blog, is going behind the paywall. Or maybe he's becoming the paywall. We can't be sure. But we know this: He's leaving the Observer for The Dallas Morning News, where he'll officially be known as the digital managing editor, charged with overseeing the paper's website.

Wilonsky, who's 43, recently celebrated his 20th anniversary with Village Voice Media, the Observer's parent company. Aside from a brief stint in Los Angeles, he spent all of those years in Dallas -- as a staff writer, as a music editor, as a film critic, as a pop-culture and sports columnist and as Unfair Park editor. Wilonsky is a famously tireless worker, and that ethic helped build this blog into one of the most read and respected alt-weekly blogs in the country. We're obviously sad to see him go, and we wish our offer of unlimited access to the office beer fridge was enough to change his mind. If only we'd invested in a fridge full of bourbon and photos of really old buildings.

Unfair Park will undoubtedly undergo some changes in the weeks and months to come, as we search for a new lieutenant and plan for the future. Blogs anchored by one person naturally take on the identity of that person; a new anchor means a new identity. But we'll keep moving, powered by the same original reporting, the same frivolity, and the same occasional shotgun blasts from Schutze. (You are still very unwelcome on his lawn.)

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I understand The News will be along with a press release shortly, complete with quotes from Robert. I'm sure he'll show up in the comments here soon enough. So I'll just say this: When he told me about the offer last week, and when he resigned late Friday, he looked like shit. Hadn't slept in days, he said. Thought he'd grow old and die here. Or at least die here. He wanted to stay, but he had to go.

His last day here is Friday, March 2. Expect some link-heavy nostalgia. Until then, enjoy him while he's around, and tell your friends -- at least the industrious and amusing and willing-to-cap-the-occasional-knee journalist types -- to send their résumés and clips this way, with Unfair Park Editor in the subject line.

Now, about that bourbon.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

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