Maybe I should’ve sought a career as a milkman. You know, delivering fresh milk every morning to the doorstep in quart-sized glass bottles with cardboard caps and a couple of inches of cream on top. You don’t?
Instead, 40 years ago I became a newspaper reporter at a small suburban daily in Texas. I went on to jobs at another Texas paper and then at papers in Shreveport and Miami. None of those jobs exist anymore because none of those papers exist.
Perhaps that is one hint as to why Careercast.com has chosen to recognize the career of newspaper reporter with its highest distinction: The Worst Job in America. Yes, newspaper reporting has leapfrogged from No. 5 a year ago — over roughnecking, soldiering, dairy farming and lumberjacking — to the top spot. The recognition is well earned. The pay is lousy at an average of $36,000 and going down. The prospects for jobs is awful, projected to be 6 percent fewer by 2020.
In fact, Paul Gillin, founder of NewspaperDeathWatch.com, predicts newspapers will disappear in 10 years. I suspect he is a bit premature, and small town papers will still fill a niche.
But if you are showing no anguish over the loss of this once vaunted profession, check out this item over at NewspaperDeathWatch.com: It seems someone at a popular social media website decided to experiment with “crowdsourcing journalism” and asked site users to sleuth the ‘net and find the Boston Marathon bombers.
Allow Rabbie Burns to explain what happened:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!