No Future in Newspapers

When I first decided to finish college (ten years after high school) I started looking at the educational programs available at my hometown public university.  I was determined to pick a field of study that would be easy to get through; that it be interesting was a secondary consideration.  The first goal was to simply graduate.

Knowing myself a little better at 27 than at 17, I thought about how poor my mathematical skills were and how uninterested I was in numbers.  I liked reading and I thought with a little instruction it would be interesting to learn how to write a little.  I chose journalism for my major with a concentration in radio reporting.   In radio reporting you learn to write a little, very little.

It was clear, even in 1986, that radio journalism was pretty much dead, and had been dead since the 1950's. What was I thinking?  I was wasting my tuition dollars on an education that taught skills that had been obsolete for thirty years. Getting a job as a radio news reporter would be next to impossible, but I ignored all the warnings given by friends, classmates and professors.

After years of struggle, my radio news reporting career never did take off.  I was never economically able to lead the nomadic life needed to chase the variety of positions in radio; to move from one small market to the next, to the next.  I did spend ten years and eventually became a station manager.  What a horrible job!  There have been many times down through the years where I thought I made a big mistake back in college.  Maybe I should have taken the newspaper track in J-school; gotten a comfortable newspaper job.  Now I'm glad I didn't.

Newspapers are now feeling the same effect radio news felt in the 1950's when television news was getting up on it's feet and starting to flex it's muscle. Newspapers are going out of business almost every day. Many blame the internet. Well guess what. The internet just left a message for TV news. It's coming for you too. That means I'm also glad I didn't become a TV news reporter either.