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-30-

I can’t tell you how many times I think to myself, “Thank God I got out” each week. That’s because there is always another story about another newspaper eviscerating its staff because people no longer read newspapers, circulation is plummeting and they can’t get the ad revenues they need. I feel a profound sense of loss.

Newspapers were my life. I was as passionate about journalism as I am about the work I do now. I escaped daily journalism in 1999 when I quit to write my first book kid for two farthings a divx download , and I was lucky to get out when I did. Many of my friends lingered too long and are now jobless. Or worse, they are still working in newspapers, waiting for the bottom to completely drop out.

I loved local news. Lived for it. But, at some point, it felt like I was repeating myself. News no longer challenged or excited me. And, the newsroom politics were brutal, especially when I went into management.

I never understood why petty infighting could affect the product, but it did. What was so hard about going out, finding good stories, then printing them? Initially, it wasn’t that hard. I’d write tough stories, the paper would run them. When critics would say that I was “just doing that to sell newspapers,” I would laugh because that was never

a consideration. But, later on, it was. I worked for one major paper that scored editions to see which kind of news sold better, then built a news budget based on sales. That diluted the integrity of the content.

There was the time that I was assigned to do a story on how poor snowfall was killing the ski season in Colorado. Industry analysts forecast real doom for the bottom line. That story made the ski industry crazy. The publisher and editor said they backed the story, but the minute there was a minuscule snowfall, I was told to write a story about how “snow saved the day” for the resorts.

As an editor, I was once ordered to run a story that was false and misleading on the front page of The Tampa Tribune — just because we had a good color photo to go with it.

Now I am not a reporter. I am a reader. I pick up the paper and constantly roll my eyes at stories that are pumped up and overplayed. If I can get a better version of a story online, why bother with a paper? I used to subscribe to at least two newspapers. Now I get one paper, on Sundays, because it has ads.The newspaper — and the industry I so loved — is irrelevant in my life. It makes me so sad.

I called this posting “-30-” which is what used to go at the end of a news story in the days before computers. This really is the end of the story. It’s not long before we write the obit.

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