The Cedar Rapids Gazette enterprise whacked about 100 jobs on Tuesday. It’s yet another sign of the seismic shift underway in the world of communications. Who’d have thought that a newspaper so entrenched in a community would be on the slippery slope to…what? The San Francisco Chronicle is staggering toward bankruptcy and others are sure to follow.
But as an old boss once said, “binness is binness.” On the face of it, the Gazette has handled this with as much sensitivity as is probably possible when you give someone the pink slip. My thoughts go out to everyone who is now re-thinking their entire existence. They will have more and more company in the months ahead. This is what a Depression looks like, folks.
If there is a silver lining in all this binness at the Gazette, it’s the fact that Lyle Muller has been named editor of the paper. I’ve known Lyle for the better part of 20 years and you won’t find a better journalist anywhere. But beyond that, he’s a square-shooter, smart, fair and able to see the big picture.
Finally, what are all the unemployed journalists around the country going to do? Our society has never needed their talents and skills more than it does now. Yeah, everyone can have a blog (heck, I have one!) and everyone can blather on and on in discussion groups and on message boards. There’s a big difference between journalism and bullshit. Just because the bullshit seems to have the upper hand right now, I am confident that the market for quality information will sort itself out and these journalists will find ways to ply their craft in meaningful and rewarding (including money) ways. Let’s hope so.