I am thrilled to my very core
To see The Nation at the door.
No better way to start the week
Than to read the news that I seek
From such an informed, friendly source.
What a wonderful new resource!
new york city
A soon-to-be-former colleague passed me Dale Maharidge’s piece on the state of journalism [“Written Off,” March 21]. It’s extremely timely, especially for me today. Comforting in that I know I’m hardly alone, but scary because I’m not sure the journalism we knew coming up in the business is ever coming back. As one of your subjects suggested: There’s just no profit margin anymore in sending reporters to the City Council meeting, or letting one reporter spend two weeks (or longer) on a single story.
I’m 52, and I’m leaving my job as an economics reporter at a financial website here in New York because the higher-ups recently decided that the site won’t be doing journalism anymore. I was told last week that I could stay on, but I’d no longer be writing or reporting in any fashion. Instead, I’d be pulling clips from the Internet and writing short blurbs for them—an entry-level job, essentially. This after nine years here—years that included the financial crisis, Bernie Madoff, the TARP bailouts, quantitative easing, interest-rate hikes, two presidential elections, etc.
So I’m leaving. But I’m lucky: A friend of mine is a high-end ghostwriter, and he’s promised me plenty of work. But the company’s abrupt decision and the way it was handled was shocking. Bad on me, though: Like many others, I assumed it couldn’t happen to me and hung around a little too long.
I worked with John Koopman at the Omaha World-Herald back in the late 1980s, before he headed west. Great times, unrecognizable in today’s world: a bunch of us in the back of the newsroom after deadline, feet kicked up on desks, smoking away. When John and I were there, the World-Herald pretty much had a monopoly between Des Moines and Denver. As such, it printed money. Older reporters said they couldn’t leave, referring to the company’s “golden handcuffs”: a profit-sharing program that the paper bestowed on loyal employees. Imagine that.