June 7, 2009

Newhouse reporter talks of 'hunkering down,'

A new piece in American Journalism Review talks about journalists who are staying in journalism, including Amy Ellis Nutt from Newhouse/Advance Publications Star-Ledger in New Jersey. The article's author, Beth Macy, says Nutt sees herself as a kind of midwife:
"witnessing the rebirth of journalism from a bedside seat, trying to manage the labor pains and hoping that, whatever happens, there will always be a way for her to tell stories and make the public's business known."
But, Macy writes:
Amid the shrunken newsroom at the Star-Ledger, a complicated camaraderie, borne of relief, survivor's guilt and excitement for the future, has emerged, she says.
"We're starting over, and there is not quite optimism, but at least a sense of curiosity about what's going to happen.

"We're the ones left in the lifeboat. We made it off the ship, and we're out in the big ocean. But we're alive, and we're together, and one way or another, we are going to get to shore."
 Call the crew "transitional journalists – rather than transitioned journalist," Macy says.

Despite all the layoffs and buyouts, Macy tells us she's "more than 40,000 newspaper journalists are still cranking away, and I'm grateful to be among them, having vowed to ride out the tsunami until they pry the company-owned laptop from my cold, ink-stained hands. "

She also tends to be an optimist, reminding us in August/September 2008 to ignore depressinging industry news.

I get the attraction. I get the thrill of a great story. What the writer of "Hunkering Down" doesn't get is not everyone gets the choice to stay or go. And even when you have the choice, you have to remember what Patrick Evan says in the piece:
"Because there is always someone younger and cheaper who would love to do your job."
Speaking of jobs, it's been a year since a journalist left his job, sure he had another one lined up. Now, he's about to go play music in the subway as he explains "What don't you do for a living."
"Without music, life would not be fair."
Fair? That was never the promise ... for those with a journalism degree or for anyone else.


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