Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Where all my Medilldos at?

Well, if you believe David Simon's prognostications in Slate, they're likely bemoaning their jobs and hoping to escape the biz.

Based on my informal research and much Google Talking, it's pretty accurate. No one wants to do more with less, and everyone wants to escape and write for a place that doesn't hand out 35 pink slips a quarter. Short inventory of my close newsy homies: three have changed jobs in the past year, and at least two others are on the lookout for better options. Hrm.

From a "what sucked/what rocked about 2006" article:

"David Simon, executive producer, The Wire; former metro desk reporter, The Baltimore Sun
In the year past, we've been given the clearest indications yet as to the future of the daily newspaper in America. And that future is brutal, reductive, and ever-less relevant.

The Los Angeles Times, which thought itself to be in the highest tier of daily journalism and therefore immune to the economic logic, is told to eviscerate itself, and when chief editors refuse, they are summarily dismissed. The Baltimore Sun is hollowed out by a string of buyouts that began more than a decade ago. The Philadelphia Inquirer is confronted with new ownership that demands a news organization with no pretensions beyond covering its circulation area. In their desperation to float their stock prices, the big newspaper chains are slowly strangling the only thing that still makes their daily editions matter: content.

For years, the Kool-Aid drinkers from the home office have journeyed to newsrooms far and wide to explain to the ink-stained rabble that these were new times, that by attritting the numbers in the newsroom, by offering buyouts to veteran reporters, by reducing the news hole, the American newspaper could not only remain viable economically, but could—given effective management—do more with less.

Here's a secret: You cannot do more with less. You do less with less. To gather more news, to investigate more wrongs, to analyze more of the complexity of modern life, you need more experienced reporters.

What now passes for journalism outside the vale of New York or Washington, D.C., is largely an embarrassment. Good people still remain in every American newsroom, and some of them are doing their damnedest to make their product essential. But every month, there are less of them, and every month, some soul-sucking whore from atop the pyramid types yet another memo explaining why this newspaper or that no longer needs a Washington correspondent, or a labor reporter, or foreign coverage. Until the industry begins to believe that content—and only content—matters, then there isn't a power under heaven that can prevent newspapers from meaning less to our world."

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