Sunday, March 30, 2008

David Simon the slow decline of newspapers

This is a good great essay:

And now, with about twenty-five inches filed and sent to the state desk, I have come to rest, waiting while editors in the four o’clock shape the next day’s local front. I am sweating profusely, unsure what to do with my hands, my face, my soul. A Styrofoam cup of water sits in front of me, untouched. More laughter from the conference room, and finally they emerge -- Phelps and the others.

He looks at me, pulls on his mustache, frowns.

Dead. I am dead to him.

And then Phelps turns and whispers something to the tall editor beside him, something about me, clearly, because the tall guy is heading my way. I rise and actually drop my eyes. It will be fast, I tell myself. It will be fast and then I can go.

“You’re Simon?”


“Good story today.”

I wait.

I've been putting off adding The Wire to my list of things to watch despite hearing nothing but good things about it, but this pretty much seals the deal. Anyone who writes at that level gets my attention.


B. Zedan said...


I've said this before to Chase. It's like the people (actually) learning journalism now are learning how to fix typewriters.

Dennis said...

I have actually read the comment, made in all seriousness, that journalism may simply have to write off an entire generation of graduates from journalism programs due to the lag between what's needed in the professional world and what's being taught.

I can see why the comment was made, and that's bad enough.

Anonymous said...

Did you happen to swipe that essay from a local business? It may have been paper-clipped together? Because I was wondering where it disappeared to...

Dennis said...

I found both the Simon piece and the essay I referred to in comments online. If I read something on paper, odds are good I printed it out.


Anonymous said...

Darn, I thought I had that mystery solved. I'll have to ask your mother if she knows where it went :)

BTW, my take on the essay was that the problem lies with upper management who, in a desperate and misguided attempt to stay relevant, has abandoned comprehensive coverage in favor of TV-style "reporting" and "prize" stories. In this attempt they have not only compromised ethics and quality, but have, ironically, made themselves less relevant.

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