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Nikki Delamotte, 1988-2018, a journalist with heart: editorial

November 13, 2018

Nikki Delamotte, 1988-2018, a journalist with heart: editorial

Nikki Delamotte was the new friend you’d known forever. She was that warm, that giving, that caring - and that much fun to be around. Her skills as a journalist, as a crafter of words and images, as a published author and arts and culture reporter who knew Cleveland’s byways as if she were born here (she moved from the Toledo area a decade or so ago to attend Cleveland State University) had a timeless quality that belied her age -- just 30 at the time of her tragic apparent murder Sunday night.

And how could anyone kill someone so good, so kind, who uplifted all of us through her writing and celebrated all that was good, quirky and delicious about Cleveland?  Nikki, so humble about her personal gifts, specialized in uncovering hidden gems and those less-well-known people we found we all wanted to know. She loved cats, and dogs, stuffed animals and humankind in almost equal measure, and deeply loved her family, including her recently deceased, adored grandmother. She sought to lift spirits and build bridges and celebrate life with every story and tweet and video and photograph she ever published. Which were many. Her Twitter page had more than 4,000 followers at her death.

Our newsroom is deeply shocked and grief-stricken at our colleague’s untimely passing. But our editorial board also wanted to expand the lens beyond our broken hearts to remember what made Nikki so amazing and so special.

The tributes from Nikki’s stunned and sorrowing colleagues burst forth Monday as if unbidden, but they had unifying themes: her generosity; her willingness to help and mentor younger journalists; her thoughtfulness, and feistiness; her ability to listen, and its corollary, her ability to tell stories; her desire to improve her craft, recently trying to hone her photography and videography skills; her smile that made others smile; her endless engagement and outreach with so many in Cleveland; her unbounded time for work, friends, and for experiencing the best of this city. Nikki seemed to know first what everyone else wanted to know -- and what they wanted her to tell them about.

“Nikki Delamotte epitomized smart, community-focused, fair journalism....a profound and devastating loss,” tweeted the folks at Mahall’s 20 Lanes in Lakewood, which Nikki in turn had celebrated in her 2016 book, “100 Things To Do in Cleveland Before You Die.”

Nikki Delamotte epitomized smart, community-focused, fair journalism. She had her finger on the pulse and reported widely and enthusiastically on our area’s arts and culture.She uncovered so many hidden gems and highlighted countless unsung heros.A profound and devastating loss.— mahalls 20 lanes (@Mahalls20Lanes) November 12, 2018

Jeff Darcy, editorial cartoonist for cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer, directed people to Nikki’s Twitter page featuring a picture of Calvin & Hobbs contemplating the vastness of the starlit sky. “It takes on special new meaning today,” he wrote. 

Most of us cannot believe anyone that exceptional, that nice, that thoughtful, with gifts beyond her years, can be gone so soon. But measured by the many, many people Nikki touched, she isn’t gone in memory. Not by a long shot. 

About our editorials: Editorials express the view of the editorial board of cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer -- the senior leadership and editorial-writing staff. As is traditional, editorials are unsigned and intended to be seen as the voice of the news organization.  

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