Let me whisk you away to the distant year 2001, when I was a freshman at CU taking my first journalism class. The teaching assistants warned us not to go into journalism, because the industry was in trouble.
There was this newfangled thing called Craigslist that was becoming really popular, and lots of people were using it to advertise their yard sales and lawn-mowing services for free. That was great for them, but it meant newspapers were starting to lose a lot of cash they used to make selling classified ads.
There was worse to come, the TAs predicted, shining flashlights under their chins and chanting like spooky oracles. They began to hover ominously an inch above the carpet as a portentous fog rolled in to the lecture hall. “Turn back now!” I can still hear the fluttering of the cloud of bats into which they vanished.
Whatever. Their message fell upon deaf ears.
News is a pillar of democracy, the so-called fourth estate, and the realm of Lois Lane and Peter Parker. It’s an essential part of a complete breakfast and an informed citizenry. I wanted to do work that was meaningful, so I got my journalism degree anyway, then found a job at the Longmont Times-Call in 2006. When I started, that newspaper was a little smaller than it was in its “roaring ’90s” days, but there were several editors overseeing a bunch of reporters, and I learned the basics of page layout with six other designers.
But the internet totally changed the game for newspapers, and a lot of people aren’t willing to pay for ads and subscriptions anymore when they can get a facsimile of those things for “free” (i.e., in exchange for a buttload of private data and a burgeoning surveillance state). So newspapers across the country have lost a lot of staff over the years. When I started designing pages for the Colorado Daily, it had about a half-dozen full-time employees. When I became editor three years ago, we had two. On Monday, I learned that number will soon be zero.
Starting next week, I will no longer be editor, but the Colorado Daily will continue. It will be put together by people who are working on a lot of other newspapers at the same time.
There’s no break in the news, so we do what we gotta do to get it out to the public. We work nights and weekends and holidays. We drove through the 2013 floods to make it into the newsroom. We deal with angry corrections and complaints in our inboxes.
It’s not a glamorous life, but I’m going to miss it, as well as all the hard-working, passionate people here. I hope I have served you well, readers. It has been an honor and a privilege to bring you the news.