The news: Every single other day
Posted on Jul 10, 2012 in Features
The first thing that came to mind when I heard the news that the “News” was only going to be delivered thrice weekly was this: they are going to have to replace all those boxes that read “Birmingham News: Every Single Day.” If you’ll notice, they are all around you. I wonder if they are just going to scratch the “Every Single Day” part out or just replace the boxes all together. Who knows? I wish Larry was still around. He’d have a good idea of what to do. Somebody should ask him.
As for the wary journalism majors at UAB, this news was not taken lightly. I know, I’m one of them. We have no idea what’s going to happen next. What we have now, and the situation is still in flux, is a major increase in out of work reporters and news people in our state after the three big papers, The Press Register (Mobile), The Huntsville Times and The Birmingham News have laid off a majority of their staff. Yes, I said majority. Has the world gone insane? Hold on. Let me just check Twitter, since that is where we get all of our ground-breaking news now that all the professionals are out of work…Yup, the world has gone insane in a 140 characters or less– #citizenjournalism.
Peggy Gargis, who up until recently was a Birmingham-based stringer for Reuters, believes that good ole fashioned journalism we know and love can survive. However, she said she thinks this is the beginning of a long, bloody fight to maintain precedence in the instant information age of full of punk-ass bloggers.
“I think most of us can adapt to digital-only news, but how robust or even accurate can the reporting be with only a skeleton crew to gather, write and copy edit the news?” Gargis said.
Which raises the question: who will be left to tend the light at the end of the tunnel if not the newsroom? Bloggers? Twitter? God help us.
“Losing the potential pool of energetic cub reporters with fresh ideas is as troubling as losing the talent pool of experienced, insightful journalists with good instincts and great contacts. We need both,” Gargis said.
I can’t be the only one who imagines all bloggers as being obese middle aged virgins, covered in potato chip crumbs and slurpee stains, hacking away angrily at their keyboards as if somebody cares about what they did today. But I guess if I want to have any hope of fitting the journalistic mold of the fat future, I must learn to accept blogging for what it is. Because hey, the future is nigh, and I’m not nearly fat enough.
Minabere Ibelema, who teaches several journalism courses at UAB, thinks that students nowadays are prepared to tackle this strange transition into the online frontier.
“The loss of jobs in newsrooms is a trend that dates back to at least the 1970s. What is happening now is an intensification of this trend,” Ibelema said.
Ibelema said for journalists out there, versatility is key.
“More than ever before, journalism graduates have to think of versatility in the use of their skills. For those who are passionate about a career in the news media, the competition has become even tougher. But the opportunities are still there,” he said on whether or not he believes the wave of out of work journalist will affect the new crop coming out of college.
All I can say to all my peers out there looking to get into the chronically ill news business– may the best man or woman win before we all lose. #pleasehiremenotthem