Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What's Next

Perhaps you've already heard, but John McIntyre, second president of the American Copy Editors Society and a frequent workshop leader, departed from the Baltimore Sun yesterday. He is, I'm sorry to say, yet another loss from the newspaper industry, which seems hellbent on removing as much talent as possible. What's the endgame? I don't think that there's a real plan.

I used to know editors at virtually every major and many, many midsized and small papers around the country, mostly a result of having worked as a newsroom recruiter. When we were first getting ACES up and running, those contacts with fairly invisible copy editors paid off and then, through ACES, expanded greatly.

I do believe that I now know far more ex-newspaper people than employed ones, which is something we might ordinarily have expected to happen well into retirement but not now in the disaster that the industry is experiencing.

My recommendation to ex-newspaper types is to try TV or other news websites. Online isn't all that different from print, though there are people who try to cloak online work in mystery. Sometimes different standards apply; there's more intertwining of business and editorial than some people would like. But there's a chance to really do good work in a field that needs our help. Just check out some online headlines on many news sites and you'll see where your services are needed. A lot of people are considering a shot at teaching but I can tell you that a.that's hard work that doesn't pay well b.colleges are cutting back, too.

My other recommendation is that ex-newspaper people expand their credentials with some technology training--video, flash, etc. because that's where journalism is headed--telling stories in multiple ways on different platforms.

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