In two months, I will celebrate 34 years in the newspaper industry. This business has allowed me to see many parts of the United States. It has provided an adequate income to raise two children and save a bit for retirement. It’s resulted in some lifelong friendships.
One thing being a newspaperman has done above all else, though, is make me proud.
In the wake of all that is bad in the newspaper world, I am proud of dyed-in-the-wool journalists who refuse to break under cutbacks, acquisitions, negative public perception and now, a shooting in the office of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland.
If you aren’t one of those salty newspaper pros of which I write, you won’t get it. You won’t understand that in spite of enduring years of furloughs and low wages, reporters still put their heads down and plow through the muck and the mire to bring you, our readers, information you need — and should want — to know. You won’t understand why the 30-year-veteran sales associate lets the snide comments slide off her back when “pitching” advertising in one of our products. Because she knows, even if you don’t, that newspapers are still trusted as reliable and accurate. You just won’t get why the editor, the business manager, the photographer and the press supervisor keep doing more with less. They do it because they believe that what we do matters.
What you cannot possibly understand if you haven’t walked a mile in our shoes is the intense pride with which we do our job — despite the off-hand comments, the jeers, the ramblings of a President bent on divisiveness and, of course, the fake news that threatens our very existence.
Reporters and editors of the Capital Gazette sat under desks, still doing their jobs as a shooter took the lives of their co-workers on Thursday. With the exception of emergency workers and war veterans, few can comprehend how a person could do that. Faithful newspaper people get it, though. They know that their job is to capture the news in written and visual form, package it and present it to you — warts and all. From the receptionist to the mailroom clerk and everywhere in between, there are folks who get it. They are your friends, your family, your neighbors. They know what they do is critical to their community. Even if you don’t.
As a lifelong newspaper man, I love what I do today as much as ever. I love the passion I see in others who are just now making a name for themselves in this incredibly powerful industry. For their sake — and for your own — please understand that what we do is for you. The stories we write, the images we capture, the advertising promotions we sell, the special events we host and everything else we do has you in mind.
For the sake of all the newspaper people who put everything they have into their work, I hope you get it.
— Bill Hanson is the publisher of the News and Tribune. Reach him at 812-206-2134 and email@example.com.