David Carr’s column in today’s Times carries a conversation that does, indeed, occur often in the dusty halls of old journalism and this is precisely why they stay dusty and old:
A year ago, I was talking on the phone to the editor of a major newspaper for a column I was working on. With business concluded, we had The Conversation, the one about the large boulder that seems to be tumbling through the newspaper business. “How old are you?” he asked. Forty-nine, I told him. “Me too. Do you think we outrun this thing?”
If you have to say that, then you’ve already been overrun. How sad it is that people younger than me in this business act like such old fogeys, resistant not only to change but to opportunites. It’s as if they’re afraid of a ittle excitement in their careers; might be too much for the ol’ tickers.
I also chuckled at this line, also indicative of the kinds of things you’ll hear in newsrooms still:
Over time, the leadership at The Inquirer was pushed hard for cuts and greater profits by Anthony Ridder, chief executive of the papers — even though the paper had earned hundreds of millions of dollars after being purchased from Walter H. Annenberg in 1969.
Even though they’d earned lots of profits. Arent’ those enough profits, boss? Can’t we quit with the profits already?
It’s about growth, folks: growth in profits … and also growth in the news and what we can do with it … and even about growth in careers, which should be energized by all these dazzling new possibilities.