The corporate folks who manage newspapers tried to comply with the whims of a thankless audience with a microscopic attention span. And newspaper staffers tried to comply with the demands of a thankless establishment that often didn’t even read their work. Everyone lost.
Now a writer for a hospital’s fundraising department, Bird remembers the “adrenaline rush” of breaking news but doesn’t miss the exhaustion:
You get called out of a sound sleep to drive out to a crime scene and try to talk with surviving relatives. You wake up at 3 a.m. in a cold sweat, realizing you’ve misspelled a city councilman’s name. You spend nights and weekends chipping away at the enterprise stories that you never have time to write on the clock.
Oh, and the crummy pay: “I quit my newspaper job at 28, making less money than earned when I was 22.”
Matt Yglesias argues that the journalism business has never been better — for readers. “[A]ny individual journalist working today can produce much more than our predecessors could in 1978,” he writes.
To the extent that the industry is suffering, it’s suffering from a crisis of productivity.
For people trying to make a living in journalism, the problems are real enough. But from a social viewpoint, these are excellent problems to have.
Related: How the Boston Phoenix Kept Its Readers But Lost Its Advertisers (PBS MediaShift) | Betting on Punditry (Branch)
Previously: Journalists land at Cisco, other brands as ‘corporate reporters’ | Reporter who created ‘We Are Journalists’ Tumblr takes PR job | Why journalists make the best PR pros | Why journalists don’t always make the best PR pros
Correction: This post misspelled Bird’s last name in one instance.