Over the years — the decades, actually — I’ve handled/edited many business articles about companies laying off workers and whole trades being eliminated by advances in technology. The paper I work for has even run pieces about how some families are affected by layoffs. For many of those decades, the newspaper industry has a whole was largely immune to the layoff virus. Sure, papers folded. But most newspapers were considered to be licences to print cash — because they were the best way for advertisers to get the attention of customers.
Not so anymore.
Newspapers are shedding jobs by the thousands and desperately trying to make a go of it online, where it is slim pickings for ad revenue. That may be because many companies like Ford, GM, Honda, Canadian Tire, Sears et al have set up their own sites to showcase and sell their products.
When I shopped for a new car this summer, I checked out several automakers’ websites. When I go shopping for a dress, I tap into Simons or Sears sites and scope out what is available. And I buy natural facial moisturizers, shampoos and such on the Yves Rocher site — and they are delivered to my community mail box within three days.
Honestly, as a consumer, I am delighted by the fact that I can shop from my laptop computer or smartphone.
But as a journalist, I am saddened by the demise of the newspaper industry and, if new revenue streams are not found, its imminent demise. No doubt, it won’t completely die; some papers will survive in digital form with few staff members. But many old, honourable newspapers will disappear completely.
The shakeout that has been occurring for the past five to 10 years in the newspaper industry has left and will leave many, many more thousands of people looking for new jobs — including me.
It’s only a question of time before I will have to move on from the paper I have called home since my late teens, and I have no plans to retire until at least, say, 75.
So, when layoff time comes for me, I’ll look for work with a smaller, country paper — many of which still seem to be thriving. Or find a writing gig somewhere.
Or maybe I’ll become a dominatrix — a legal, non-sexual trade, incidentally. Because it is all theatre, really. (I know of what I speak.)
Or who knows . . . There is a fortune to be made in marijuana stocks these days.
We have to take life one day at a time, and be thankful for all of our blessings, past and present.
Life is a miracle, really . . .
Photo: Pressroom of the New York Times in 1942. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)