March 28, 2010

'Last Print Journo' making friends fast

The Last Print Journalist knows how to tweet. The Last Print Journalist is on Facebook, too, rapidly becoming friends (808) with many journalists, fans of 83 journalism or word-related pages and members of 7 journalism groups.

Mostly, though, the anonymous the Last PrintJourno, is having fun providing "the cheeky timeline that tracks how the glorious print newspaper finally put itself to bed. Forever."

It is clear that the Last PrintJourno has heard the legends of newsrooms, providing gems like:
5.02.12 From every last newsroom drawer in the land, workers remove all traces of the three most influential men in journalistic history: Jim Beam. Jack Daniels. And Johnnie Walker.

There were days when the "rewrite man" saved many of us rushing to get the facts, just the facts, but the right facts, so this one is sad:
12.30.18: The last real "rewrite man" dies. Instead of burying the body, the eulogizing mourners -- in fitting tribute -- instead bury the lede.
And let's not forget the office pools, some very ghoulish, some very standard, and this:
3.18.29: Office pools let people pick which of the final 64 print newspapers will be the last standing. Many brackets pick the NYT, in the belief that when gambling, never bet against a man named "Slim."
He helps me recall heated debates with items like:
06.09.17: After an employee complains to HR that such "coarse language" promotes a too sexually suggestive workplace, the newsroom phrase "put the paper to bed" is, itself, put to bed.
Have you thought lately about what has disappeared in your lifetime? Clearly, this word man has:
1.1.15: The term "On the record" finally loses all relevance whatsoever. Rejecting "On the CD" and "On the iTune," @APStylebook stiffly rules that the official replacement phrase shall henceforth be: "On the defunct vinyl."

Indeed, on the barely started blog we learn some of what makes the Last PrintJourno different:
"I'm a veteran writer/editor at a major newspaper. I still have a pica pole. A print Stylebook. And the distant hum of a Teletype ringing in my ears."
No surprise that interests (on the blog) or activities (on Facebook) include "comforting the afflicted, afflicting the comfortable and doggedly pursuing news facts and free comfort food."

Or that favorite movies are "Citizen Kane and Network" with "All the President's Men" and "The Innocents Abroad" books occupying a spot on the must-read list.

There's poking fun at social media:
9.9.14: In a desperate nod to social media, print reporters are ordered to write such jargon as "OMG," "WTF?" or "IMHO" after every single sentence. The move is an "Epic Fail." LOLROTFLMAO
Here is one of my favorites:
10.31.10: In a pioneering online strategy, a Texas newspaper doubles its Web traffic overnight by changing its name to the Austin American-"FarmVille." The Newark Star-"Mafia Wars" masthead quickly follows suit.
This one is good:
4.2.14: Perez Hilton reports that Wikipedia has purchased TMZ & Drudge. Because of the four sites involved, no one's able to confirm an actual sale.
Twitter does not escape unscathed:
12.31.30: Twitter buys the last U.S. print newspaper and buys out everyone older than 30. Instantly, the average Tweet now has more characters in it than does the nation's final print newsroom.

Some friends join in the fun. Vince Rinehart provides:
11.2.10 Watching trends in Texas, a central Florida paper renames its food section "Cafe World" and has an alarmingly round-eyed editor produce so many extra pork chops and tostadas that they're given away as a circulation promotion.

There's the reality of the new news model:
11.12.13: Feds replace the Witness Protection Program with the Pay Wall Program. Says the DOJ: "The journalistic model has proved it conclusively: Once firmly behind a pay wall, most people are rarely found again."

Money speaks loud:
3.22.15: To make money, newspapers begin to unveil "buylines," whereby readers can purchase traditional byline space and publish their own names instead above stories. Rapidly, Donald Trump becomes the world's most prolific writer.
There's hope:
07.4.27: As "Antiques Roadshow" does a day in Des Moines, a 1977 mint-condition pica pole is valued at $70K. Instantly, thousands of journos have new hope for a healthier retirement fund.
and stolen hope:
1.1.11: Sensing a keen need in the newspaper industry, CCI markets its bold, new de-employment software: "Layoff Champ." Selling point to buyers: Makes it easier to fire or furlough text and design people equally. Selling point to workers: If it crashes near the final deadline (probable), everyone gets to keep their jobs!
Let's say goodbye:
10.04.18: Journalism's last official "copy boy" is forced into retirement. He is immediately replaced by a "content-oriented postadolescent online junior work-flow correspondent." At half the pay.
Or maybe we should not:
01.24.28: The last print-only copy editor dies at 70. Because she herself is no longer around, her headstone is allowed to "Rest in Piece."
A request to blog about my new late-night chatter gets this reply:
"All I require is anonymity -- makes it SO much easier to e-speak my mind without worry or forethought."
So I learn:
"I'm a veteran writer/editor who had been mulling since last March how to share my thoughts on journalism online -- in roughly 140 characters. I experimented with a couple of efforts that drew a spark of interest, but there wasn't quite the same precise marriage of passion and concept. Hey--you feel it when it's right.
Over a few chats, I think I can guess that he's a long-time newsman. He reveals he is bouncing some of these off a younger colleague before posting and having fun.

He defines success as
"a site or feed that spurs an active, thoughtful and creatively/intellectually engaged community."
His goal is:
"to spur people to laugh, smile -- and then share their own journalism experiences with either me or each other. These are challenging times in our industry -- as several journo-related FB pages have shown already, we especially need the release of laughter right now."
Think I'll go send a few more Worthless Gifts for Print Journalists to former colleagues, see if anyone wants to buy one of my daughter's newspaper purses, and check for the latest chuckle.

But first, despite this:
12.30.21: Use of the journalistic mark "-30-" comes to an end. That is because (a) less than -30-% of journalists realize what it means; and (b) most everyone else thinks it's a vaguely naughty emoticon.



  1. love this post and love the lastjourno FB page too. Thanks for your definition of I've been Romenesko'd!

    Editors reviewed your entry and have decided to publish it on

    It should appear on this page in the next few days:

    Urban Dictionary


    I've been Romenesko'd

    When Jim Romenesko's news industry blog mentions your name or your newspaper's name with a link to your website.

    "Wow, Jim Romenesko linked to my oped piece in the Times today, first time that ever happened! Can't wait to tell my friends that I've been Romenesko'd."

    -- overheard in a newsroom in Manhattan, March 12, 2010

  2. Wow. Use the right words and magic happens. The post was picked up by Daylife , and filed under Texas.

    It even made the USA Today Facebook page.