I started covering private equity at Thomson Reuters two and a half years ago, right around the time a black cloud descended upon the industry. It was the fall of 2007: Blackstone Group had just gone public, Newsweek had cursed private equity by affording it the cover, and the credit crunch was settling in for a nice, long winter. I couldn't have picked a worse time to dive into the industry. The collapse of private equity brought me on a pretty dark ride, from the pendulum of stress and Henry Kravis' cold heart to reCrapilizations and fundraising purgatory. In the past two years, I've gotten to write headlines like Merry Christmas, Your Firm May Fail and There's More Than One Way To Spell "Jackass". * I've badgered firms like Sun Capital, Apollo Management, and American Capital. I documented layoffs, clawbacks and writedowns, and covered PE-backed bankruptcies in meticulous detail. Basically, things got ugly.