Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Passion history

Last month, Susan George of Wiarton sent a letter to the editor of the Owen Sound Sun Times that tore a strip off the Sun Media newspaper.

"If I were a food critic served a plate of The Sun Times my comment would be that the newspaper is most often bland and boring, not unlike lumpy lukewarm overcooked oatmeal," she told the editor.

She asked where the passion had gone.

An anonymous TSF reader posted this reply yesterday:

"Where has the passion gone? Hmmm, my guess is it disappeared when we finally clued in (after repeated hints) that our employers didn't care what kinds of articles we wrote, as long as the paper made money and lots of it.

"It was also around the same time that we learned beyond a shadow of a doubt that the loyalty street in journalism only went one way - and it wasn't our way.

"I know journalists used to live and breathe their jobs with a passion few of us, if any, would comprehend today. Many of them also used to cope with the job and its stresses by regularly boozing themselves into a stupor, but I digress.

"The world has changed, Ms. George, and idealism must be tempered by a healthy dose of what we like to call "reality." Go on, getcha some.

"And if you're reading this, you're certainly welcome to come and hang around our newsroom for a couple of weeks. Let's see how long you last before you start chewing your own leg off, trying to escape the steel-jawed trap."

The anonymous TSF reader says it for a lot of vets in mentioning journalists who "used to live and breathe their jobs." It was that way for many of us for decades.

Print media conglomerates headed by bean counting non-newspaper people have squeezed much of the passion and the joy out of journalism.

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