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PaulO goes yard again

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Birdscribe, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    Deposed San Bernardino Sun Columnist Paul Oberjuerge has been nails with his blog, but no more so than with this entry from April 20.


    Here are the two paragraphs that distill the frustrations of much of SportsJournalists.com Nation down to its essence:

    But the post-Fear Factor era didn’t just start with the last round of layoffs. It is the culmination of a shifting paradigm. As recently as five or six years ago, some rock-star reporter out of college could get their foot in the door of a metro daily, blow away their editors, and soon find themselves covering a glamor beat. It gave the rest of us who were in no way exceptional the belief that if we kept plugging away, paying our dues, we’d get somewhere someday. But it started to seem fairly obvious to most of us that it isn’t going to happen. We might be dreamers, but simple arithmetic tells us that consolidation and content sharing are not a good thing if your idea of a glamor beat isn’t Long Beach Poly [high school].

    What started out as sapped morale kept getting worse. It got to the point where reporters started challenging our editors. In LANG, it wasn’t just the kids just out of college supposedly paying their dues. Many of us locked in jobs for years (part-time pay for full-time hours, or full-time freelance) that were the legal equivalent of migrant farmworkers with laptops. At a certain point, it became apparent our dues was feeding a Black Hole. We weren’t willing to pay our dues in the way we had, and at a certain point editors had to accept the fact that they couldn’t pile on the workloads their editors once assigned them. What had always seemed acceptable no longer was. I think that fed a cycle that had a trickle-up effect. Middle-level management has had its morale sunken in a pretty significant way in recent years, too, and it’s finally working its way up the Singleton food chain. Working conditions have many people in LANG upset – mid-level editors included, and they’re speaking out.

    Hammer, meet nail.
  2. OnTheRiver

    OnTheRiver Active Member

    Look ... conditions in the field can be bad, but let's not compare ourselves to migrant farm workers, ok?
  3. MU_was_not_so_hard

    MU_was_not_so_hard Active Member

    Seriously, they're paid better.
  4. truman

    truman New Member

    Just a point of clarification ... I don't believe Paul wrote that, his "guest writer" did.
  5. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    That's what I got out of it, too.

    Who was the guest writer?
  6. truman

    truman New Member

    I imagine he asked for the anonymity
  7. Mid Card Heel

    Mid Card Heel New Member

    Stupid anonymous bloggers!
  8. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    For those of you who didn't read it, Paul makes it very clear that his "anonymous contributor" is one of our posters.
  9. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    The carrot is getting smaller and the stick longer every day.
  10. NightOwl

    NightOwl Guest

    It used to be so cool to get into this field because we were dreamers, and so we wanted to go out and write and edit and publish the stuff that we, and others, dream about. We could put it in the paper, and everyone who reads it could skate along, play along, read it, love it, and think that could be them, whatever.

    Good stories feed imagination, and imagination feeds ambition. You can dream it, so you can do it. That's what I think newspapers are losing now -- their ability to inspire others, which is one thing I think newspapers do best.

    Other than your mother.

    By closing the ranks, we're putting less good stuff in the paper, and the trickle-down loss is obvious. We're not here just to report the news, although that is our primary task. We're also here to inspire others to greatness, and that should be evident -- to anyone and everyone -- by the way we conduct our business. But our business is losing touch with our readers by scaling back and no longer providing them the things they used to rely on from the local newspaper -- and only from the local newspaper.

    It's a business now, a corporate business run by people your town has never heard of or met, and that's just stupid. Back then, the local newspaper was a trusted friend, whether the news was good or bad. We have gone so far off the rails by not realizing that our core mission is to be our readers' trusted friend, even when the news is bleak.

    And I don't see many dreamers in my newsroom anymore. That's the tough part.

    Some men see things as they are and say, "Why?"
    Others dream things that never were and say, "Why not?"
    ~ George Bernard Shaw
  11. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    Some migrant worker with a laptop.
  12. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Good point by Night Owl. I think many get into the field because we "want to make a difference" or "make things better." Egotistical? Probably. But that drive nourishes many to put up with the hours, low pay and generally bad work conditions.
    When we see the news business not getting better and the prospects for making a difference in the world diminished by a widening media landscape, it's a much tougher gig than it used to be. I'm sure "there's the door" guy might say fine, suck it up or go, but newspapers today reflect this attitude to their readers day after day on page after page, by going after low-hanging fruit and bending their ethics to make their profit margins. Ads on A1? Ad-sponsored news coverage?
    Integrity, or at least the appearance of integrity, is something you can't get back once its gone, and newspapers sold theirs for a pittance.
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