Back in September, I asked him what he would do in the event that they couldn’t raise the money.

“That’s something I’ve struggled with,” he said. “Knowing when I’ve done as much as I possibly could. At some point, I’ve got to have a real paycheck coming in. I can’t live off savings and family and friends anymore.

“So I think that if this doesn’t work, I’ll have to apply around. The shitty thing for me is that I’ve put my thumb in the Birmingham News’s eye so many times that it was eventually going to come back on me. So I’m not going to be able to go there and get a job.

“Even though I’m doing sort of the new media thing, I’m still a journalist, I’m still a newspaperman. Any other line of work would be an insufferable hell. And so I would go wherever the job is, but it’s probably not going to be Birmingham. And so all the sources I’ve spent the last ten years nurturing, all the knowledge about the community I’ve learned, I’m going to have to start all over again, and that’s really scary. But I sort of made my peace with it. If that’s what happens.

“When you go into one of these things, I don’t want to say that you have to be prepared to fail, but there have been a few times where you sort of have to look over the edge of the cliff. You do have to be prepared for that emotionally, because it might not work. But hopefully it won’t come to that.”

It didn’t come to that. He started work last Monday.

Michael Meyer is a CJR staff writer.