The year is drawing to a close, and I daresay for most of us in the newspaper industry it’s time to say “good riddance” to 2008. According to the trade journal Editor & Publisher, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 21,000 newspaper jobs disappeared over the past 12 months. That report totals 3,000 jobs lost at Gannett, 2,500 at McClatchy and more than 1,000 at Tribune, which is now in bankruptcy proceedings.
These cuts decimated newsrooms, back shops and virtually every department in between. That 21,000 figure doesn’t take into account others who have fled the industry on their own, scattering to academia, public relations and other fields, or early retirement.
In tribute to our departed colleagues, I post the photo above of my “PRESS” cap sitting on the control panel of a newspaper press that was decommissioned a few months ago. My wife bought the cap at an industry meeting a year or two back, which in retrospect seemed like the good old days.
It’s doubtful those “good old days” will return to the newspaper industry, at least if you consider only its ink-on-dead-trees incarnation. Newspapers are evolving online, however, and here’s hoping that 2009 will bring better results.