Except for a few breaks, journalism has been a big part of my life for more than 50 years.
From high school days I knew I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. In between junior and senior year my journalism teacher gave me a book about newspaper publishing and I studied it all summer. I was co-editor of my high school paper and managing editor of my college newspaper.
My first full-time job as a reporter was at a newspaper that still used an ancient Linotype machine and had cases full of wooden type (although no longer used to produce the paper).
I became editor of that newspaper (for the first time) when I was 21. I was editor and general manager of the same paper again when I was 60. In between I was editor of six other newspapers — five weeklies and one daily. I went on to edit two more weeklies late in my 60s. I started, or helped start, three newspapers and launched a number of magazines and other publications.
Ink, as they say, is in my blood.
Somewhere along the line I figured out it wasn’t actually newspapers that I loved — it was covering the news. But calling myself a journalist always seemed a little highfalutin. I thought of myself as a newspaper reporter even when I was an editor. It’s a fine calling, being a news reporter — and we don’t have enough of them anymore.
The news business has changed dramatically. Today we live in a digital world. There are still print newspapers, but they are fading fast. I’ve learned to build websites. (Is there such a thing as digital ink?)
News still matters, and I believe covering the news is a worthy endeavor. Without reporters, little news is covered. According to a recent report, newsroom employment in the U.S. dropped by 26% between 2008 and 2020. And newspaper newsroom employment fell 57% during the same period. The bottom line here is that without news people — journalists — you may never know what you’re missing.
So, when I can, I do journalism. I am a journalist and I wish there were more of us.
You can find links to some of my published work here.