In high school I often dreamed of being tossed against the front door. Not by an angry girlfriend or a police officer, but tossed as part of the morning paper. Whether as a columnist or reporter, I wanted to be the one telling a story. I studied journalism at the University of Missouri and embraced reporting as the "public journal of the public trust." Sadly, the newspaper industry is challenged like never before.
Today's news that the Tribune company will lay off another 700 people comes as no surprise. Newspapers are in decline; have been for years as newspaper reporter was voted the worst job in 2013. One can debate the reasons why, from the nosedive in advertising or the power of the internet.
I never made it to a newsroom. Instead I ended up in the financial services field which seemed like a good idea at the time. Plenty of my classmates and friends, hard core journalists, are persevering through tough times. It's ugly out there. One has to wonder, if papers continue to dwindle, who will tell the stories and be the watchdog for our society?
There's nothing like the feel of fresh newsprint on my fingertips along with the aroma of black coffee. Hop on a train these days and you're likely to see a single paper or two in what used to be a sea of black ink.
I read a great book recently called After Visiting Friends about a a son's struggle to learn more about his father's mysterious death. It's as much a story about a bygone era as his Dad, a Chicago newspaperman, thrived at a time when papers dominated big cities.
That era is long gone. In its place are massive, multi-media offerings, bloggers and often meek attempts at "hyper local" news. Thirty years ago Chicago had three dailies. In ten years will we be down to one?
Do you think newspapers are on life support? Thank you for reading. I would enjoy hearing from you in the comments section and would love it if you like us on Facebook.
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