The media butchers who now run more newspapers than any other single group in America has done it again, cutting even more deeply into a newspaper that, for my money, had been decimated already to the point of no return.
I have just learned that the Amarillo Globe-News in Texas, where I spent nearly 18 (mostly) glorious years writing opinions and managing opinion pages for the publication of record for the Texas Panhandle, has terminated the fellow who was managing those pages.
Doug Hensley, a fellow I do not know, was cut by GateHouse Media. Hensley was among the 400 or so employees cut by GateHouse in the latest round of staff butchery. He held the title of associate regional editor and director of commentary for the Globe-News.
The corporate owners have reduced the opinion pages to one per week. I don’t know who’s tasked with writing editorials, or even if the company publishes editorials on local issues any longer. We used to publish two full pages of commentary daily. Occasionally we would collect so many letters to the editor from readers that we would clear the decks of all the syndicated commentary just to give the locals a chance to sound off on the pages of their newspaper.
The sad truth is that the longer I am away from the full-time career I pursued with great glee the less aware I am of what is happening at the place where I spent my longest single tenure. I am left only to watch my heart fill with sadness over what I know has occurred.
The newspaper that I once knew no longer is as relevant to people’s lives as it once was. I get it. You may spare me the explanation of what has become of community newspaper journalism. I know what has happened.
I also know that young journalists are still entering the field and are doing some version of what I did for nearly 37 years. There’s just so damn fewer of them now than before and that their work is appearing on computer screens rather than on newsprint.
It’s just a sad story to report that the media butchers keep cleaving off huge chunks of what made our craft so special.