What We Love and Lose

The best thing I’ve read about newspapers in a while:

Mostly, it was a daily grind. We’d bicker. Fight. Bitch. Moan. Drink together. Often at the same time. We all knew we were on a sinking ship — the water was already up to our knees. We complained to each other. We talked about getting out. We tried for big scores — tried to be noticed. It wasn’t much use. Every so often we’d break a big story, but it wouldn’t make any waves until the Enquirer reported it the next day. Every so often, we’d take a hard stand, but it wouldn’t shake the town until the Enquirer took the same stand (or the opposite stand) later. We’d stay in the locker room later, work harder, craft more, but it often felt like we were tracing words in the sand with a stick. Few seemed to notice — and fewer all the time.

Of course, it didn’t matter much to me. I was doing what I loved doing at a place I felt fiercely loyal to with co-workers who were friends. The only real trouble was that every day, we were taking on a more water. Sinking a little deeper. I knew it wouldn’t last forever. I knew I would have to jump at some point. We all knew.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t dig the fatalism, but in the month after a funeral, I’m not gonna pass judgement on how somebody who actually knew the deceased is making his peace. As I said recently to an acquaintance who was losing his paper, “You try everything in the world to make yourself feel better, but in the end, it just hurts until it doesn’t.” A fascinating study for some psych student, newsroom detoxing and post-traumatic stress.


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