Hands up, how many of you still enjoy reading a printed newspaper? Hmmm, not nearly as many hands as there were a decade ago. Like automakers you can really trust, daily newspapers are a species that’s becoming more ‘endangered’ as each day passes.
When I began my first Regina life in 1977, I worked at CKCK Radio which shared a building with the Leader Post. The cafeteria had noisy conversation and journalistic camaraderie. Saskatchewan’s other major daily is the Star Phoenix in Saskatoon, and today both papers share the same publisher.
All across North America, as veterans of print journalism are retiring, they are not being replaced. But it’s taking more than ‘attrition’ to keep newspapers afloat. In California, the Los Angeles Times is owned by the Tribune company in Chicago. Included in their latest round of layoffs in California was Austin Beutner, the publisher of the L A Times. Absolutely no one is safe.
Ten years ago there were 1200 employees in the Times newsroom. Today there are 500. No doubt many of them are ‘retooling’ to find different careers. Good luck.
One of the big stories of the past week was the release of Canadian-born journalist Mohammed Fahmy in Egypt. When he was arrested in 2013, he was heading the Cairo bureau of Al Jazeera’s English news service. Now that his nightmare is over, Fahmy says he plans to party, and then teach journalism at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
The University of Regina was once home to the only degree program in journalism in western Canada. They regularly cranked out close to one hundred graduates each year. Many of them were lucky enough to get jobs at the Leader Post, the Star Phoenix and the Winnipeg Free Press.
A wise man once said about journalism that its purpose was “to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable”. Who would ever thought that the ‘afflicted’ would include so many of the journalists.
I’m Roger Currie