Times they are a'changin'

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The  past and the future collided in the Rocky Mountain foothills yesterday. Luckily my husband, the news hound that he is, was at the front lines. He’s in Denver for a few days, one of which is for the purpose of delivering a presentation on New Media. Upon arrival at his speaking engagement he encountered an Old Media frenzy. Much as he would like to think it was paparazzi, it had nothing to do with him.

It had everything do with the closing of the Rocky Mountain News today. On the same day he addressed photographers and journalists on how to reinvent themselves and retool their skills for the emerging world of new media, members of the old media were packing their boxes.

He knew about the Rocky Mountain News before he arrived in Colorado because he read it on Twitter. He knew because journalists were Tweeting the information before their old-fashioned media employer could get the word out through traditional channels. 

What a convenient — albeit painful — backdrop for his presentation. 

As for all the newly unemployed writers, editors, copy editors, designers, photographers, sales representatives, classified advertising clerks, news delivery workers, truck drivers, composing room workers, graphic artists,circulation managers and many others, it was a day of heartbreak. 

I had lunch today with my group of gal pals, all of us unemployed newspaper folks. We talked of the seemingly endless parade of newspaper funerals. We talked of our careers and dreams going up in flames.

I’m thinking, I’ll shed a few tears for the Rocky Mountain News and the others to follow. Bury the dead.

Times are a’ changin.’ Newspapers and many other industries are going down in flames. What great stories we’ll tell our grandchildren of how we rose out of those ashes and reinvented our lives.

Why I'm clean and not so rich

A recent report highlighted on Yahoo News*  listed dirty jobs that pay well.

Among the jobs that most likely require a hot shower afterward are:

  • Veterinarian (dog poop)
  • Waste management engineer (everything down the toilet)
  •  Trauma surgeon (blood, guts, poop)
  • Coroner (dead people, plus guts, blood, poop)
  •  Certified nurse midwife (blood, guts, placentas, poop)
  •  Podiatrist (foot fungus)
  • Oil drill worker (not sure about this one, just oily I guess)
  • Gastroenterologist (more of the same, except for the oil)
  • latex1

    Most of these jobs require a substantial amount of education, except the oil drill worker.  All of them require a cast-iron stomach and nerves of steel, which is a fancy way of saying you must control your own bodily fluids while performing your job.

    And it looks like they pay fairly well, too.  At the day’s end, you can scrub from your hands the bodily fluids, change your shoes, and head to the bank with your big, fat paycheck.

     So I was wondering if paid well enough, could I do any of these jobs?
    Could I keep track of the goings on in a waste-water treatment plant, making sure the poop and paper separated from the water?
    Could I grasp a fungus-ridden foot in my hands and scrape it for a sample?
    Could I slice open a dead body and dig out the contents, weigh and measure each organ lovingly as if they were baby birds? 
    No, no and most certainly not.

    I watched an autopsy once. As I stood by the glass window in the public viewing area, I wondered why the body of a young man with curly black hair still had a red bandana tied to its head? Wouldn’t they have had the sense to remove it? Then my ears began to ring and my knees grew weak. The Rice Krispies I had for breakfast started to churn in my stomach.
    It wasn’t a red bandana on his head. It was the underside of the skin flap pulled back to cut open his skull. Silly me.

    I put on my brave face, but inside, I couldn’t wait to get away from that cold, antiseptic place that smelled oddly like a  butcher shop.
    So you can keep your scaly feet, your severed limbs, your spurting oil wells and exploding colons. I’ll take the simple road, the one that pays in small change but smells far more like a bakery.

    *http:// blogs.payscale.com

Final edition

Last night the husband and I joined a small group of writers, editors and photographers for a round of drinks at our local watering hole. After hoisting our mugs and toasting our friendship and better days ahead, we downed a bitter swig of reality.

On Dec. 1 our 106-year old enterprise will cease to exist. We couldn’t call it a death. More like pulling the plug on a ventilator. Still.

Moments earlier we had toured the shell of a once-bustling building. What was once filled with busy workers doing their part to get a paper on the street every day is now populated only with empty desks and packed boxes.

Husband and I have a lot of memories embedded in this place. It was our home away from home, our life.  It was that way for all who worked there. We were an extended family and this felt like a funeral for a dear friend.

As we  drank and ate and talked, we wondered what to do with the rest of our lives, since most present were headed for the unemployment line. We talked about how to update our analog careers to a digital world. Most of us are middle age and this is all we’ve done. Time to reinvent ourselves. We all knew it was coming, but it is quite another thing to stand at the edge of the grave as the casket is being lowered.

Anyone interested in what’s going on in the news industry can read more here: