I returned to the old salt mine this morning. That would be the Bradenton Herald, "Manatee's newspaper since 1922.'' My last place of employment. My nine-year run there, seven as Managing Editor, ended last June when they eliminated my position.
It is painful to watch the decline of the newspaper industry. The Herald, like virtually every paper in the country, just went through another round of difficult cuts. More people lost their jobs. There will be pay cuts and unpaid ''furloughs'' for those remaining on staff. The building is up for sale.
I walked through the cavernous newsroom. Granted, it was early -- 8:30 a.m. -- but there were only three people at their stations: the metro editor, the editorial page editor and a senior photographer. A lonely place. Not the daily hustle and bustle that energized me throughout most of my 33 years in the business. Not the buzz and fierce competitive spirit that kept us news junkies coming back every day for another fix. Again, it was early. These people always rise to the occasion. But it gets harder and harder to assemble an army for the charge.
I admire those who grimly fight on. Maybe someone will discover a new business model that works. The Rocky Mountain News and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer have been toppled, and more will soon follow. Newspapering is a noble profession, but we're not hearing a lot sympathy from the public as these death warrants are issued.
What a crying shame.