Wednesday, April 30, 2008

That ship has sunk

After a long career in journalism, I'm back in the job market. For a limited time only. All I require are a company car, a five-figure signing bonus and a six-figure salary. If somebody could swing by and clean the house once a week, that would be great too. Until then, guess who's going to be blogging like there's no tomorrow.

I've worked at various newspapers for the better part of three decades. I've been a reporter and an editor and there was a time in the mid '90s when I thought I was being very clever by learning HTML. I was thinking: Job security, baby; every newspaper will be on the Internet in a few years. I was right about the last part. But it turns out most people eventually questioned the wisdom of paying for what they could get free. Who knew? Then circulation and ad revenue headed south, and corporate boards figured they could maintain profits by shrinking the product and letting people go. Now circulation and ad revenue are Thelma and Louise: straight over a cliff, holding hands. The daily newspaper is coming apart like a '66 T-bird impacting at terminal velocity. Hope you enjoy catching up on current events via snide and bitter blogs. That's what most journalists are doing these days -- when they're not fashioning nooses from their mouse cords.

It's not pretty, but it's nobody's fault. That's just the way it is. OK, maybe it is somebody's fault. Let's blame the Bush administration, which should really cut this jaded newsman a stimulus check to make up for mental anguish, wear and tear. Oh wait, they've already done that. So maybe I'll just blame myself. It's not like this hasn't been unfolding for awhile. A smart journalist would have jumped on three years ago and landed a nice gig writing copy about bathroom fixtures.

You've got to hand it to bathroom fixtures. Without them, we'd be shoveling shit with our bare hands. And that's one of those jobs, like working for a newspaper in 2008, that just doesn't allow much dignity.


Yvonne Dennis said...

Well said, Dave. When the generations born before 1970 die, newspapers will lose the solid bases that they have. Saddens me. But you know what, i also blame many in the news business. There are so many of my colleagues at my current paper and former one who do not buy a newspaper. They figure, I get the news at work. If we don't buy the product (our own or anyone else's0 how can we expect the public to? i subscribe to USA Today (I don't care who laughs, I love that paper) and I pay for subscriptions of my own paper (The Wall Street Journal) for to family members and one friend. WE MUST SUPORT OUR WON INDUSTRY and pass it on.

Yvonne Dennis

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