Kansas City Star TV critic Aaron Barnhart, who last wrote an article for the McClatchy-owned newspaper on Christmas, has finally revealed that he has been on medical leave and suffering from serious health issues, and has officially resigned from the newspaper.
The Star had only acknowledged that he was still employed at the newspaper in the past eight months, but not why his stories no longer appeared.
According to Barnhart, who was with the Star 15 years, he will now ”be pushing myself into the field of longform writing — essays and books — and embarking on some other projects that were impossible to even think about while in daily journalism.”
On his site (http://www.tvbarn.com/thenewsite/) Barnhart revealed that he will be working on some collaborations with his wife and author Diane Eickhoff, “including a travel guide to the Border War region that should be ready for sale by the spring.”
Barnhart admitted that he was initially diagnosed with hairy cell leukemia 12 years ago and has been receiving treatment for the cancer most of this year.
In a farewell note to KC Star staffers Barnhart wrote:
“First let me say how grateful I am for all the cards and emails of encouragement sent in the past few months, messages that I have read and re-read. Thank you as well to everyone who protected my privacy during this long healing process. Not only did I have a full recovery, but my clinical trial at NIH has given me a way forward with this chronic condition, so that I don’t have to fear the kind of debilitating relapse that sidelined me for much of the past year.
“Being sidelined, however, did give me a chance to contemplate what I might do with my life once I recovered. I realized that I had a strong desire to take my writing to the next level, and that this would likely involve stepping away from the world of mass media. In addition, there were other projects I have wanted to pursue but couldn’t because of my employment at The Star. In the end, the force of these possibilities proved irresistible.
“The irony is that I could only imagine leaving The Star because of all The Star has given me. Simply put, I would not be the writer or the person I am today had Steve Paul not called out of the blue nearly 16 years ago to inquire of my interest in coming to Kansas City. Though I am eager to do new things, my affection remains undiminished for this great newspaper and the community of FYI who supported me in sickness and in health all these wonderful years.”