Newspapermen

1 08 2008

Steve Smith is the editor of the The Spokesman-Review. He writes a nostalgic and bittersweet account of what a newspaper used to be.

Something is coming, some turn in the media universe, a turn in the future of my newspaper. A turn that will mean the end of me, of us. There will be reporters. Editors. Something called on line producers and multi-media coordinators. Mojos. Slojos and Nojos. Bloggers, froggers and twitters.

But there won’t be newspapermen. At 58, I am among the last of a dying race.

And what a race it was.

snip

A newspaperman knew the meaning of a deadline. He felt a chill when the presses rumbled at midnight and would look for a reason to be in the press room, slipping an early run paper from the conveyor to give the front page a quick look and maybe also to see his byline in print.

Newspapermen worked hard and played hard. The bartender at the dive across the street knew how many beers each reporter could consume between editions. And after the last edition went to press, the bar lights would be turned up just enough to let the newspapermen read those papers pulled fresh from the press.

There is a great deal more over there. As I said, I see the sentiment and nostalgia he is invoking, because sometimes I feel the same way.

Everything changes. He’s right on one account. Those days will soon be altered forever. To me at least, this post at his house, which is a must read, is about grief and loss.

They already have been.

And we move on.

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4 responses

1 08 2008
The Death Of The Newspaperman : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

[…] Newscoma links up to a man who believes he is one of the last of a dying race: Something is coming, some turn in the media universe, a turn in the future of my newspaper. A turn that will mean the end of me, of us. There will be reporters. Editors. Something called on line producers and multi-media coordinators. Mojos. Slojos and Nojos. Bloggers, froggers and twitters. […]

1 08 2008
LeftWingCracker

The irony here is that the man he replaced, Chris Peck, is currently at work destroying MY hometown paper, The Commercial Appeal.

1 08 2008
Dan

I realized yesterday that — on some irrational, emotional level — I’m mourning the passing of the myth romanticized here. It’s what made me want to be a newspaperman 20 years ago. In fact, my original teacher and mentor — Jim Shumaker, the model for the cartoon “Shu” — was the Tar Heel State epitome of this character, and O How I Wanted To Be That Man.

So I’m sad now.

Thing is, I figured out 10 years ago that the myth was bullshit. If you work in a newsroom and you’ve actually got your lights on, you figure out after a few years that all that stuff about “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable” is pretty absurd. Publishers and senior editors ARE the comfortable, and neither they nor their friends appreciated being afflicted.

So why am I so sad?

Because I loved that myth, even though I knew it was bullshit.

But we all have to grow up sometime.

1 08 2008
newscoma

Same reasons here, my cyber friend.
It was bullshit but I do see some truths. (Well, the bar stuff anyway. 🙂

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