Always a NewsieMarch 27th, 2008 © by Susan Swartz
When people would ask “Are you STILL writing for the newspaper?” I’d feel like I had to come up with some explanation like, “Yessss…..Maybe I’m just not very imaginative.” After all, it is a mark of adventure and risk taking to bounce around, be flexible, try something new.
But why not stay with something you’ve loved since high school, majored in, in college and has been the only work you’ve ever been paid for except that summer in Cape Cod cleaning motels.
I’ve always been proud to say I write for a newspaper. People usually react. They know what reporters do and they have opinions. There were times when some considered it an-almost glamorous profession. But along the way writing for a newspaper got thrown into a greater slushpile of THE MEDIA. People talk about THE MEDIA and look at you like you are personally responsible for the paparazzi climbing all over Angelina and Brad and TV cameras staying too long on grieving war mothers.
It’s so hard to please the reading, viewing, listening public. But it’s sure fun to try.
Being a journalist gets you into peoples lives and homes that doesn’t happen in a lot of professions. Being a newspaper reporter allows you to know a little about a lot of subjects. It gives you maybe some fleeting celebrity, a little bit of status, although that’s declining too. People know that the news biz is struggling now and they all have an opinion on that, too.
But they care and they pay attention. Were a newspaper to close up shop I believe there would be far more people mourning it than celebrating. But maybe that’s because I believe most people recognize that they must know what’s happening in the world or downtown even if they don’t like it.
Newspapers also keep the written word alive. Even if it they appear on a website instead of a piece of newsprint, there will be words put together by people who know the craft. People who can spell and write full sentences.
I was never a fan of the politics of the late William S. Buckley but I sure admired the way he could wrap his words around his ideas. I gave a silent “good for you” when it was reported he died at his desk.
Daniel Schorr, the NPR sage, is 91 and continues to get multiple papers every day so he can add his perspective and analysis to the news. Helen Thomas continues as the queen of the White House press corps. I take heart that news people never fade away. They keep reporting and commentating and asking nosy questions.
I left my newspaper, the Santa Rosa (Ca.) Press Democrat because we have a decent union retirement and I want to do more things on my own time. You know. Like write opinions and interview people and tell stories. Same old. Same old. What else would I do?
Listen to the audio version of “Always A Newsie” on the podcast page under Another Voice.