Rheta Grimsley Johnson Talks Newspapers

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Rheta Grimsley Johnson expresses so much in her Christmas post about the realities of newsprint. It’s honestly, for this old journalist, heartwrenching.

There is passion in your paper. Reporters and columnists generally work amazingly hard to get it right and make it interesting. We don’t always get it right, and lots of times we don’t make it interesting. But we do try. We feel something.

I have been saddened all year by the alarming rate at which newspapers are failing. Disappearing. The Christian Science Monitor, to cite a major example, is ending its run of more than 100 years. Almost every newspaper I know anything about has made huge cutbacks to compensate for failing circulation. On a recent visit to Atlanta, a city where I worked for seven years, I talked with half a dozen friends from the paper who were trying to decide what to do with the rest of their lives. Early retirement and severance packages are as much a part of the newsroom conversation as cop chases and political shenanigans.

The era of newsprint and ink is coming to an end. A New Yorker writer even dared to predict a date for the last newspaper.

Whenever it happens, and it will, I hope I’m pushing up daisies, to borrow a cliche some newspaper drone on a deadline probably invented. I will miss feeding quarters to an uncooperative rack and hiding behind a broadsheet to keep breakfast private. My refrigerator will be bare.

We all feel this and I can add no other words to her sentiments.

Allow us in newsprint to grieve.

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