The comeback kid
On May 4 one year ago, I walked into the newsroom of The Baltimore Sun and took a seat at the news desk, back after an absence of twelve months. It took a little while to acknowledge all the congratulations before I could get down to work,* but the pace has been steady ever since.
It has been a year of night content production at the paragraph factory, along with repatriating this blog and inflicting video barroom jokes on the public. Editing is just as necessary, and gratifying, as it was before (though I will admit—and this is the hell of it—editing, like cutting diamonds or piloting a riverboat on the Mississippi, has to be done stone cold sober).
It is a new world, with its emphasis on getting stories online fast and following up more deliberately in print, exploiting the possibilities of video and engaging with readers through social media in a way that would have been unimaginable a decade ago.
Well, newspapers have difficulty imagining anything different from The Way We’ve Always Done It, but the halting steps newspapers are taking seem to be going somewhere. Print circulation continues to decline as the generations with the lifelong newspaper habit proceed to that farther shore where the circulation department does not reach—though home delivery is up 1.6 percent on Sundays.** But both audience and revenue online have been expanding.
So this is a day to be grateful: for a return to useful, collegial work; for the new ground to explore in journalism; for Mary Corey and Trif Alatzas, who run the news operation here and offer support and encouragement; and for you, the readers who stayed with me in the transition to the personal version of You Don’t Say and the reverse transition back here, and also those who have come aboard during these past twelve months. There are many more of you than I ever hear from, but I know that you’re out there.
*I assume that the person who sent me the anonymous gloating you’ll-never-get-a-job-again-and-end-up-eating-dog-food letter when I was laid off a year previously was not elated over the development, but just about everyone else seemed pleased.
**Take that, you Scum Paper people.