Tag Archives: newspapers

Echoes from job searches past

There’s something I find endearingly quaint everytime I get an e-mail that makes me remember that I’m still signed up for the Associated Press Recruiting Center announcements. It’s kinda like still checking daily surf reports from a beach you no longer live by or looking at the weather for the town you grew up in. Ah, so young and innocent and carefree we were.

I signed up for this in probably 2006 as part of my scorched earth policy of applying for newspaper and reporter jobs from coast to coast. Which means the AP database still has some ancient, typo-ridden version of my resume, along with the oddly inspecific cover letter you have to upload as well, and my job notification preferences are probably limited to some sort of combination of entry level mid level senior level reporter copy editor news assistant in any state warm or on the West Coast or with a big city.  Continue reading

Spider-man does not endorse newspaper bailouts

Lots of time is spent in the outer realms of the Hypothetical Future of Journalism discussion world wondering about the plausibility and impact of government bailouts for newspapers. Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, for instance, introduced a bill to offer tax incentives for news outlets to restructure as non-profit entities. Other ideas discussed include straight auto-industry style cash-infusion, short-term loans, or even the idea of enshrining the newspaper industry as a public trust in the spirit of the National Endowment for the Arts or public libraries. The arguments go: newspapers are too big to fail in the sense of their importance; the medium itself has lapsed into obsolescence but the in-depth reporting that has remained the domain of newspapers staffs after all these years is too crucial to a vibrant democracy to let slip away. No objective news, no intelligent discourse; Know news, know discourse, etc.

As President Obama told the editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Toledo Blade in an interview last year, according to The Hill:

“I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding.”

All that is well and good in the hypothetical hinterlands, but would it really work in a country where the most popular TV news source is founded on the principle of the unreliability of the ideologically tainted dictatorship of the old media (I’ll let you think about the irony of that whole premise on your own for a minute).

Luckily, a likely artist’s rendering of a scenario has been laid out for us, in a little periodical known as Spider-man. In Spider-man universe, the publisher of The DB (the tabloid successor of J. Jonah Jameson’s Daily Bugle) becomes the first recipient of a government bailout. And the angry masses don’t care for it at all.

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As of press time

A thought hit me as I was banging away at another semi-newsy blog post the other day and purposefully inserting

Press building opening day at Lowcountry newspapers

New multi-million dollar German press for the Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette , built just four years ago! (photo by Jay Karr)

the cheeky anachronism “As of press time..: even in a post-press age, it may still be relevant.

I have no doubt that much of the nomenclature of the old media structure will disappear in time, even as they wear out their comforting nostalgia drives. At some point “stop the presses” will be as much a relic as a linotype machine, despite that we’ve continued to half-seriously scream “stop the presses” even though presses haven’t actually had to be pulled to a grinding halt in decades (it’s not that hard to hit pause on a publishing software system); “copy desk” will probably stick around, as long as (we hope?) there will still be editors somewhere; “rewrite” is gone already; referring to a story in “inches” is sailing off into the sunset (though for some of us, it’s still how the default way to think about story length. Sorry, metric system); “A-matter” and “copy boys” are dead, “putting the paper to bed” is going to sleep, and “tombstoning” sounds more apt to describe the industry than abutting hedes. Good stories will still always have “legs” to me, even if I’m the only one chasing those gams. Continue reading

Pro-newspaper ads are just really effing stupid

Oh, Newspaper Project. I like you so much. Just hearing a name of a group like this that exists gives me hope some days. Then you go and do something like, and suddenly my forehead hurts from palm-slapping:

The project last month released these two ads it said were to run in newspapers nationwide:

creating dubiously reliable websites since 1997

ah gad

Newspaper Project, let’s have a quick little ed meeting here right now. Some issues with the above we need to discuss at once:

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Take that, roustabouts

This list from the Wall Street Journal’s 2010 list of Best and Worst jobs speaks almost poetically for itself. But certainly worth mentioning. The $s are starting, mid-level and top-level salaries:


Interesting to note that “Author (books)” is high on the list at No. 74, between No. 75 “Hotel Manager” and No. 73 “Set Designer,” though still seven worse than No. 67 “Forklift operator,” which, I have to say as an occasional operator of the “Big Joe,” essentially a forklift, is pretty damned enjoyable. And “Newscaster” is at a happy medium at No. 95 between No. 96 “Protestant Minister” and No. 94 “Orthodontist.” But at least I’m glad that “Salesperson (Retail)” also droops low at No. 142.

I do enjoy that the Wiki definition of “roustabout” (not to be confused with “roundabout”) cites a newspaper story as its example:

A roustabout is a labourer typically performing temporary, unskilled work. The term has traditionally been used to refer to traveling-circus workers or oil rig workers.

In the American south, mid to late 19th century, roustabout was used to refer to unskilled labor working on steamboats. In reference to the Mississippi River fire and subsequent sinking of the Steamer Josie Harry:

NY Times, Dec 15, 1883, “A Steam-Boat Burned”: “…The fireman and greaser and two roustabouts jumped into the river…”

The intro to the piece on partner site Careercast.com reads:

Yet despite this central role employment plays in daily life, many people wind up in a given career virtually by chance. For all those who decide on a profession at an early age, a great deal more simply select the best opportunity that comes along, regardless of their interests.

I used to loathe the question “what do you do?” for its bland implication of the rote career-as-coals -for-the-furnace-of-Real-Life meme. Now I think that question, essentially as an Avatar for the query “how do you spend the majority of your time?” can be quite telling, especially if the subject of this query agrees with the aforementioned meme.

But shouldn’t lumberjacks be higher? That seems like the life: sleep all night; work all day, butter scones for tea… More scones than we ever got in the old newsroom, that’s for sure. You will also notice that “Blogger” is nowhere on the list, as the profession has yet to meet the income requirement necessary to be considered a “job.”

This week(ish) in Great Sentences

I’m a little behind on some of these, but it’s August and the world is slow, so I feel no shame.


You slog through your days beleaguered and reactive even when there are no noticeable disasters — a normal day has its many large and small annoyances, and the world, if you care to notice, and it is difficult not to, is burning

Norm Fischer, “For the Time Being,” NYT 8/7, on zen meditation and finding concrete happiness


Surrounded by candles, Stapp strummed an acoustic guitar, with an annotated Bible open on the table in front of him, next to a closed copy of The Art of War.

DX Ferris, “Creed’s Stapp talks breakup, make up and shaved head,” Rolling Stone, 8/7, via Idolator

Who were the people clamoring for a Creed reunion again?


But we have needs we can’t admit, and one is to be in a scrum of thinly clad corpulence milling in brilliant sun in front of the deep-fried-ice-cream stand and feel the brush of wings, hip bumps, hands touching your arm (“Oh, excuse me!”), the heat of humanity with its many smells (citrus deodorant, sweat and musk, bouquet of beer, hair oil, stale cigar, methane), the solid, big-rump bodies of Brueghel peasants all around you like dogs in a pack, and you—yes, elegant you of the refined taste and the commitment to the arts—are one of these dogs.

Garrison Keillor, “Take in the State Fair,” National Geographic, July 2009

“Scrum” is a tragically under-used word in modern writing.


“It’s what we’ve got to keep doing. People feel that here. I think even our drivers feel like, We’re not bringing in doughnuts. We’re bringing in The Inquirer and Daily News.”

Brian Tierney, quoted in “What’s a Big City Without a Newspaper?” NY Times Magazine, 8/6


“How far will reporters go for a story? Some are so desperate, they’ll work for a newspaper.

— Stephen Colbert, Aug. 17, via Obsolete

Rough mornings in post-newspaper America

turns out the black houses were just early internet adopters

One other consideration about the death of the newspaper industry that occurred to me last night (nevermind at what time): If print editions and deliveries go away, how will we know when it’s too late to be coming home from a night out?

This used to be the benchmark: if you could stop on your way home from the bar or a party and get that day’s newspaper or see people hawking the amNY by the subway, you know your night was indeed a long one. If you made it back home before that first whack of the paper hit a doorstep on your block, your march had just fallen short of qualifying for the Walk of Shame (or Stride of Pride*, depending on your perspective).

So what then are the new media model-era signposts of a night that has probably carried on far too long?

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