Turning The Page
Everyone remembers their first big job. You know, the one that bumped your pay grade just enough to indulge in stuff other than groceries or rent. And I, I, was working towards one thing. That single splurge that would mark, to me at least, that I'd made it.
Cue the Hallelujah Chorus: A subscription to The Providence Journal.
To. My. Door.
Go ahead. Call me a journalism geek. I'll take it. (And probably deserve it, especially once you add in the fact that the second indicator of my world domination was being able to subscribe to Newsweek--at the same time!) Eventually, I MADE it, wildly flaunting BOTH subscriptions.
But then, things slowly began to change.
Newsweek got cut from the roster first, after gradually deviating from its oddly successful model, of, well, promoting news, that had sustained it for over 80 years. Kim Kardashian. Not news. It's on-line model, to me, was a shell of its former self. I didn't renew.
And earlier last month, after an agonizing decision, I reluctantly decided to let my beloved Providence Journal go as well. (Ironically, or not so much, it was the same week that this column appeared in the Providence Phoenix. It's so not my imagination.)
For me, it went back, just as it came in, to economics. An outstandingly bad timed quarterly payment to the newspaper, rolled up alongside taxes and life insurance premiums, made me look at the budget hard. The value for the information received just wasn't there anymore. So, I substituted the e-edition for print, wondered when exactly people stopped being able to pay weekly, and tried to be okay with not physically turning the page.
In fact, I'm not really cool with the pace, in the twenty years since I graduated from college, that the industry has changed. This short attention theatre stuff is killing me. Where's the details? The art of the long form? The investigations? The building of the story? The getting lost in it? The learning of something? Anything.
I know it's all just business. Like it was in 1992, when two daily editions of the ProJo got folded into one. And in 1997 when the independent locally owned newspaper got sold to a media corporation in Texas. And in 2008, when the ProJo closed their local bureaus, and ending neighborhood zone coverage.
It's all just business. But it still makes me sad.