Outliving your chosen profession

First wanted to become a newspaperman at age 10 when I sold my first story and photographs to The Farmville Herald in Prince Edward County, Virginia.

Never wanted to be anything else. When the family moved to Floyd County in 1962, took my clips to Pete Hallman, then owner and editor of The Floyd Press, and he hired me on the spot. With his help, landed a job with The Roanoke Times three years later, becoming the paper’s youngest full-time reporter at 18.

Always considered the profession to be “newspaperman,” not “journalist.” “A journalist,” legendary reporter H.L. Mencken once said, “is an unemployed newspaperman.”

If an unemployed newspaperman (or woman) is a journalist then there are a lot more journalists than newspaper people out there nowadays. Five spend their last days on the job for The Roanoke Times, joining dozens of others forced out at various newspapers owned by Landmark Communications.

Newspapers, we are told, are passe and those who produce those daily digests of history are a dying breed.

It’s possible that some of us could outlive the newspaper profession.


Somehow, taking an iPad to read in the bathroom just isn’t the same.

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2 thoughts on “Outliving your chosen profession”

  1. I’m feeling the same way about print books versus e-books. I grew up influenced by an uncle who wrote novels for a living (and a father who wrote for the Roanoke Times, though no books), and have wanted to be a writer since I was 12. The e-medium is still out there, of course, but I’m hoping I never have to give up the tactile sensation (and, for me, easier to read text) of a hard copy book.

  2. To me you’re still damn good newspaperman/journalist. You’ve lived a full, productive life while providing a service to your community and the nation via CHB.

    That’s why I was attracted to CHB as my main watering hole for shared opinions.

    Occasionally myself as well as other readers have had dustups, but you’ve always demonstrated a fairness concerning outcomes.

    We have a local newspaper in my county, the “Battleground Reflector”. So too we have the SW Washington newspaper “The Columbian”. I enjoy the local paper concerning school bond issues, general letters to the editor, local advertising etc.

    To me there’s still a place within every county or sub-region for community supportive newspapers.

    The web is fine to an extent, but not everyone is into surfing the web 24/7 and getting their news from such media.

    If I remember right in another nine days you’ll be celebrating your 64th birthday. Happy Birthday a few days early your friend in thought. : )

    Carl Nemo **==

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