Stop the presses

The sidewalk internet, circa 1902.

The sidewalk internet, circa 1902.

Considering the hits that the print media business has taken in recent years, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that CareerCast.com has identified newspaper reporting as the worst job of 2013.

It’s never been an easy job — you’re constantly on call and on deadline — but that’s what makes it such an honorable profession. But the other aspects of the business today — less job openings, constant threat of layoffs, squeezing the life out of shrinking staffs of writers — were the deciding factors in CareerCast’s assessment.

I read the item with a feeling somewhere between relief (my own relief) and sympathy for colleagues still on the front lines. And I couldn’t help thinking of all those great mythic figures in art — from Penn Warren’s Jack Burden to the unnamed reporter questing after Rosebud’s identity in “Citizen Kane” — that partly inspire you to consider that profession in the first place.

What are some other reporter-characters in literature? Lucien Chardon in Balzac’s “Lost Illusions” — does he count, even though he’s just a hack? Peter Fallow in Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities”? The character of “John Berendt” in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”? Who else? Lend me your thoughts.

I envy — and worry about — all those young college grads with journalism aspirations. They’re entering a world where headlines aren’t the brightest about their chosen vocation, and yet it’s an occupation that’s needed the most — without reporters, how else do you keep the rest of the world honest?

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5 responses

  1. It is bleak, but there’s got to be an innovative way around all the bleakness. I’m sure they’ll find it. And speaking of the Kochs, they’re eyeing my former organization. thanks for that link about what they’ve been up to.

  2. Thanks for commenting, and I’d be delighted to read your thoughts on this. I’ll take a look and comment on your page when I have a chance. I’ll also point folks in your direction.

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