2007.06.06 Q: Question A: Answer

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Q: Do you have some time to talk about your predicament?

A: My predicament? I have a little time, but not much. I’m a little busy right now.

Q: That’s what I’m talking about. You have no reporter now. How are you going to cover Morenci and Fayette all by yourself?

A: I would like to say that it’s impossible except that I’ve done it before for a few months. It takes a little discipline.

Q: Is that a polite way of saying that you will be working every day?

A: That’s not exactly new. There’s something to do most every day. Now there will be a little more to do every day.

Q: You say that you’ve done it alone before, but wasn’t that before you had a website?

A: Aren’t you perceptive. Yes, I have more to do than before. Fortunately, I generally enjoy what I’m doing. Otherwise this would be one big pain and I would probably be looking for a new job.

Now there’s an idea. My last child has graduated from high school. Maybe I should move to a more productive region of the country and get a 7 to 3 factory job. With health insurance.

Q: OK, OK, I didn’t mean to get you going in that direction. But aren’t you going to hire a new reporter?

A: I won’t be immediately looking for a replacement. Sometimes after a reporter leaves I go on reporter vacation and just do it myself for a while. Of course it’s more work to go out and cover the meeting, but it’s less work afterwards in the editing stage.

Q: What’s the job market like these days for a young writer?

A: Hold on a second. Let me check the Michigan Press Association’s résumé bank.

Most unusual. I’m not sure what to make of that. There are only nine listed and usually there are at least a couple of dozen. And the résumés aren’t what I would call typical. One is from a high school graduate. Several are from colleges without a journalism program. One comes through as complete gibberish. (<html xmlns:v="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml"xmlns:o= "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" xmlns:w="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office: word"xmlns:dt="uuid: C2F41010-65B3-11d1-A29F-00AA00 C14882" xmlns "http://www.w3.org TR/REC-html40">)

So either it’s very easy to find a job and all the promising candidates are gone or else very few are even out there looking. So maybe I couldn’t find a reporter if I wanted one.

Q: But aren’t you the publisher who made an infamous remark at a conference once about hiring English grads instead of journalism grads?

A: Yes, I am the one. There are always English graduates, because what are they going to do otherwise besides go back to school? Jeff Pickell, an English major, enjoyed his two years here at a low-paying, dead-end job and now he’s going back to school.

Q: At least high school sports have ended. That must take a lot of time.

A: It takes a whole lot of time, but it also fills some pages in the paper. Soon I will be looking for ways to fill in for what sports once covered. Don’t make me start worrying.

Q: Low-paying, dead-end job. You don’t make it sound very attractive.

A: In some ways it isn’t, in some ways it is. Anyway, we’re like the city, the school and so many other businesses. We need to cut back. We can’t really afford a full-time reporter.

The best solution would be a local part-time person with writing skills. I don’t know if that person exists.

 Q: You’re forgetting that other option you told me about recently. Outsourcing to India.

A: That seems like a really crazy proposition. A website called Pasadena Now has hired two reporters in India to, among other things, watch the video of the city council meeting and write news stories about it. The publisher says it makes good business sense.

I just checked the website. Sure enough, there’s a city council report written by Nisha Ramakrishnan.

I’ll have to keep that option in mind. There’s probably someone in India who would love to write about Fayette’s sewer system.

Q: Not in your wildest dreams would you go through with that.

A: Dreams. Now there’s a topic I have some time to talk about. I’ve been having some very interesting dreams lately. Some rather odd stuff going on, like how I keep seeing the same house in Morenci that doesn’t actually exist.

Q: Sorry, I gotta go.

     – June 6. 2007
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