I've always been a news hound. As a kid, I saw a lot of movies featuring newspaper reporters who bettered the police and solved the crime. They had sassy talk, smoked a lot and stayed up late. It was my ambition to be a reporter.
In high school I joined the newspaper staff. During my college sophomore year, I interviewed with the dean of the College of Journalism. I told him I wanted to be a real writer not a society page reporter, which was the job most women journalist were give in those days. His answer, "Who do you want to be Dorothy Killgallen?" It was spoken like an insult. How dare you want to enter the world of real journalism. Killgallen was a rare woman then, a real journalist in a man's world.
As it turned out, I ran out of college money, applied for a teaching scholarship, and gave up my newspaper dreams for teaching. I still followed my goal, however, by teaching English and journalism and sponsoring the school newspaper for many years.
Few students these days long to be reporters. Newspapers are dying. For most of my life the newspaper was the heart of a city. Journalists were the watchdogs of society, searching out wrongs, exposing criminals and frauds. Today, except for a few big city papers, the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, newspapers report mostly local news and stories people have already heard on television or the internet, which can get the news out almost the minute it happens.
Reporting local news, however, is a good thing. By making the public aware of local elections, events, city problems, and providing some recognition for jobs well done, newspapers can help improve a city's sense of community. A journalists main job is to inform objectively. We need this service. How then can we rescue the newspaper from possible oblivion?
The most important rescue comes from keeping your newspaper subscription. I have so many friends who have stopped theirs. Yet, they can't quite give it up. They borrow my paper or sections of it to get the crossword puzzle, the grocery store ad insert, the classified ads, or the stock market report. A newspaper has to have sales to interest advertisers and have enough customers to make money. Many papers have gone under because their revenue just wasn't enough.
I'm not yet ready to give up the newspaper. I want them to continue until I'm a little, old lady so I can still read it with my morning coffee. Buy your own paper. Renew your subscription. You will do a good thing.