On Monday, the publisher of local newspaper hosted a dinner for the entire staff in order to say goodbye to almost one-third of them, who accepted buyouts as the newspaper tries to remain solvent.
It's all part of a messy situation involving a federal Joint Operating Agreement with another newspaper here, and yet all are operating under one corporate umbrella.
The sad part of it is that the newspaper's print circulation has been rising as it began to go head-to-head with the other daily as a morning newspaper. But it is the "outcast" of the corporate structure and it is paying for all the bad decisions and visions of the corporate airheads.
As the publisher sadly pointed out, across the United States the number of journalists has declined by 30 percent. That's one-third less dedicated people to keep tabs on you government's agencies, and the pules of the community as well as the world.
Television journalism has very, very seldom been able to uncover the corruption that we all know exists in every level of government. TV depends on handouts, "spins" ... they often take what's fed them and run with it, sometimes showing the bias and, many times, not checking the facts. After all, time is their enemy. They only have a limited amount of time to present what they want to present.
Sadly TV still remains the opiate of society.
Then you have newspapers that have consolidated operations and use pre-set layouts which use enlarged photos -- often "fluffy" stuff -- to fill the precious little news space left in a newspaper. Little space because of cutting back on paper because of the expenses and, now many letting the print side of journalism swinging in the wind to concentrate on that little device everyone carries around in their pocket to provide news.
As little as Web space costs, in relation to newsprint, there is little in-depth investigative work going on and even less being made available to the readers.
All of this mess wrapped up shows a society that is not really fully informed, is given a lot of biased opinions, and are urged to give knee-jerk reactions to stories even before all the facts are in place.
As a journalist, I am very, very saddened over how things are declining in the field of journalism. And those people I meet every day that say they love to have that newspaper in their hands may end up alone. There are many people out there who do not like being tied to a little electronic device and treated as if they are the robot, and the device is the authority.
I sure hope there is a turn-around sometime before the corporate fat-cats cut off the true symbol of journalism because the can't make enough profits to make their pockets fatter.