One of my going-away presents when I moved to Petersburg was a data CD of varied types of electronic music from my friend Falyn. Some of the weirder music I listen to is thanks to her, especially contemporary Icelandic music, like the band múm.
As I made my final farewells at my first post-college job, I thought of everything I went through with those reporters, the bonds we had made and how me working down the street wasn’t really going to change that. There was no need for long goodbyes set to a sad Death Cab song.
Indeed, there were nights out, parties, lunches and weddings after I left.
Also were getting a little goodbyed out. I was the 24th person to leave the overall newsroom in 20 months. There was a lot of reasons for that turnover, but in retrospect, it was good to be there, especially as a first job.
We were all young. We were trying to make names for ourselves in journalism or were finding out that it wasn’t for us. Unfortunately, a lot of us quit the industry. Of the first batch of reporters there when I started, I’m the only one still in it. Overall, only three of the reporters there the entire time I was are still in journalism: There’s me, a reporter who is now a magazine editor and one guy who started a few days before I departed who is still there by way of a brief stint at another paper.
In the past 11 years, I’ve seen a lot of young reporters quit. Contrary to popular belief, the pay is terrible. It truly is a thankless job. The internet killed ad revenue and skewed what people think is the nature of reporting and the concept of paying for it. There aren’t enough editors to keep things running smoothly and there isn’t enough institutional memory.
But I’m commuting two hours a day until March to do a job everyone hates but I cannot do anything but love.
Journalism takes a special kind of crazy, and I’m glad I have it.
Next: Someone I knew since middle school writes my favorite piece of music.