Thursday, July 03, 2008
You know, Reuters. Associated Press. All those news services.
I respect them immensely. The reporters who work there are some of the best in the business and I've been scooped by them at least once (I know you all have, too). Shoot, some of my best friends work for wire services. I was thisclose to applying for a job at one of them myself.
I'm trying really hard not to hate on them because they don't deserve it. It's just, lately, everywhere I look, I see another collegue leaving a newspaper to go to a wire service. If the trend continues, there may not be much of a newspaper for wire services to put their copy into.
Maybe it's the money (I hear they do pay well). Maybe it's the exposure (you get run in papers across the country and online and broadcast!). Maybe it's the fast pace of the deadlines and the ability to make everything a national story and get out of the hyper-local crack newspapers have been on for the last decade.
But as I see some of the best and brightest move to wire services I can't help but think: who's going to be left to write for the newspaper?
Yes, I know the industry is "dying." Many people greater than me have eulogized my dear industry more times than I care to count. Yes, I know everything is going online and people want news now, now now. I got that. But am I the only one saddened even a bit by this trend?
I was talking to a friend of mine who has applied for a job at the AP. The wire service, she says, is the only way to get her out of the small market she's in and into the NYC metro area. The paper she's at, she says, is not longer challenging and the internal politics are wearing on her.
For her, the wire represents a way out.
Here's what I wish would happen:
I wish that all of the great writers everywhere would go to their local newspaper and write the hell out of a beat. When they do that, I wish they would be paid for what they're worth. I wish that everyone -- old newsroom curmudgeons, jaded journos and everyone in between -- would take ownership of the dead trees that land on their doorstep every morning and commit to making it better. I wish that companies would invest more money into the newsroom so the journalists there could have the money to tell the stories they need to tell, the ones they are more than capable of doing.
This is not to knock the hustle of anyone who goes to a wire service because it's a good fit for them, because it's a great opportunity covering something you love, or just because you work there. That's not what this is about.
I want great papers to go to from Providence, and great reporters to learn from while I'm there. And I just wish I didn't feel that the only way to survive in the newspaper business is to jump ship.continue...