A -30- on my career
I'm about to put a -30- on my
career as a newspaper man.
The number 30, sandwiched
between two dashes, indicates the end of a newspaper story. And my story in
newspapers is coming to an end after 33 years, a couple of more if you count
the time I spent working for the student newspaper at the University of New
Hampshire in the early 1970s.
The -30- isn't around
anymore. It's an old editing mark that told typesetters who set copy with
lead type that the story was done. The -30- disappeared as lead type and
typesetters disappeared, and as writing stories on manual typewriters with
cheap copy paper was replaced by computers and blinking cursors.
I freely admit it: I'm a
dinosaur, part of a profession that is desperately trying to evolve or face
For more than 30 years,
that's who I've been -- a newspaper man. I was the guy at the newspaper who
wrote the stories. Then I was the guy at the newspaper who assigned and
edited the stories. Then I was the guy who was editor of the newspaper. Then
I was the guy who was in charge of day-to-day newspaper operations. All I've
ever been is a newspaper man.
I graduated in May 1975
from the University of New Hampshire and by June I was working for the York
County Coast Star. I was hired as a summer fill-in at the weekly that
circulated throughout southern Maine. I didn't leave until two falls, two
winters, two springs and two summers later. Then it was on to the Peabody
Times in Peabody, Mass., part of the Essex County Newspaper group. It was a
big deal then to jump from being a weekly reporter to working on a daily
I became the city editor
in Peabody, then moved over to a sister paper in Beverly, Mass., where I
became a metro editor and ultimately editor. I was new media director for
the ECN group, before heading north to New Hampshire to help Seacoast
Newspapers with the purchase and consolidation of the Portsmouth Herald
about 10 years ago as director of operations. It’s where I've remained ...
Today (Friday, June 6) is
my last day as a newspaper man, and like newspapers themselves I'm faced
with the challenge of re-inventing myself as someone else, using the core of
what I know and my experience to morph into something different.
A lot has changed to those
papers: Ironically, the Star became a part of Seacoast Newspapers in 2001.
The Peabody Times and Beverly Times went away, merged into the Salem News.
Essex County Newspapers disappeared as a group, merged into one sale then
another. Seacoast Newspapers became Seacoast Media Group as we needed a name
that was more reflective of a business that had expanded beyond newspapers
to the internet.
My opportunity here could
be called a retirement, but the word retire denotes the kind of behavior
that I'm not ready or willing to accept, either financially or emotionally.
For a long time, I've gotten up each morning to dress for a day at the
paper, and all the excitement and decision making that it might bring.
It's a strange feeling to
know that come Monday, I won't wake up to that. I can best describe as
teetering between elation and terror. I've never not had a newspaper job,
and that's the scary part. But I'm tremendously excited to have the time to
figure out what's next.
I'm one of a growing
legion of newspaper men and women who are getting out, either on our own
accord or someone else's. Newspapers in the last couple of years have shed
thousands of positions in a frantic effort to save money as the industry
seeks to save money as it reinvents itself from a dominant media that relied
on printing to a dominant media that relies on technology.
This is my last column for
the newspaper but not online. I still have a lot to say. You haven't heard
the last from me yet. Come visit at www.briandboomerangst.blogspot.com. We
dinosaurs can still make a lot of noise.