If you had asked me to project when I became a newspaper reporter in the mid-1970s what the media landscape would look like, say, in the third decade of the 21st century, there would be no way on God’s good Earth I could predict what would transpire.
The landscape I once knew bears no resemblance to what is taking shape before our eyes right now.
I just heard that the Amarillo Globe-News — the final stop on my 37-year career — is going to suspend publication of its Saturday edition. The G-N is joining other newspapers owned by the media conglomerate in reducing its publication schedule.
Newspapers that are doing this are pledging to (a) commit to a digital delivery of news and (b) maintain its commitment to “local news.” Both pledges bode ill for the industry I once knew and loved — and which gave me untold pleasure in the pursuit of my craft. This looks to me like the next step before the newspapers reduce their delivery even more en route to ending their existence altogether.
I have lost count of the number of times people have told me how they “enjoy the feel of the newspaper in my hands.” Hah! If that were really true, the industry wouldn’t be sucking wind the way it is at this moment.
The Internet is destroying an industry that once employed thousands of people who were committed to “making a difference” in this world. Many of those folks now are pursuing “other interests.”
My wife reminds me of a fundamental truth that I accepted long ago. My career came to an abrupt end in August 2012. I was 63 years of age when the publisher told me that someone else would be doing the job I had done at the G-N for nearly 18 years. What is the truth that my wife reminds me? “I am just grateful that this happened at the end of your career, and not while you were in the middle of it.”
And so, the landscape is shifting, rattling, rockin’ and rollin’ before us. People who formerly depended on newspapers to tell them the news of their community and the world now look elsewhere.
What lies in store for the future of print journalism in the Texas Panhandle … and in other communities across the land? More retreat as they surrender what they once saw as their exclusive territory to other media.
Therefore, I consider myself to be a media dinosaur. However, it’s good to be comfortable in my own skin.