Brian Moritz on the death of newspapers

Brian Moritz on the death of newspapers September 27, 2012

At Scholars & Rogues, Brian Moritz shares his story of “Why I left newspapers.”

Moritz used to be a beat reporter. I used to be a print and online copyeditor. At this point that’s about like saying he used to be a blacksmith and I used to be an elevator operator.

At one point we both loved those jobs, and then, gradually, they became a lot harder to love. “It stopped being fun,” Moritz says. And that was, in large part, because they stopped being something it was still possible to do well. (I wrote about that near the end of my run in the newspaper racket, in a post called “Playoffs and Rocking Chairs.”)

Click over and read the whole thing, but my favorite part of Moritz’ post is probably this:

The layoffs started, followed by the furloughs. Wondering every six months if you were still going to have a job was bad enough. Wondering every six months if you were still going to have a job while trying to figure out how to make ends meet when you lose a week of pay each quarter. Then the job cuts kept coming. The industry still hasn’t figured itself out.

More striking — it stopped being fun.

The newsrooms I worked in used to be fantastic, vital places. There was an energy to the room, especially when news was breaking. Being a reporter could be, above all else, fun.

That was long gone by 2009. The layoffs, the furloughs, the space cuts, all of it, sucked the life out of the room, out of the industry.

For this, I blame newspaper owners. By their actions, by their slavish devotion to print profit margins at any cost, by their desire to maximize profit while minimizing the quality of the product, by their inability or unwillingness to embrace digital news, they have sucked so much of the soul out of a business I love.

It’s telling that when anyone leaves the business, my first reaction (and that of almost everyone else I know) is “Good move. Smart decision.”

Every word of that. Amen to every single word.


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  • Chris

     Ellie –  Chris wasn’t sexually harassing Pat.  Pat considers the word “the” to be offensive. Everyone uses it but Pat chose tonight to suddenly start cursing at Chris for using it, completely derailing the thread. There’s no rule against using this word and Chris is never going to stop using it yet Pat perists. Who is the harasser here?

  • it’s me btw

  • EllieMurasaki

    Your hypothetical has nothing to do with either my hypothetical or the actual situation here.

  • Madhabmatics

    yo when your argument is literally identical to the argument people use for “why can’t I drop an n-bomb whenever I want, screw you oversensitive weenie, I am a he-man who does not experience your human emotions” perhaps you out to come up with a new argument

  • madhabmatics- so you feel the word lame is offensive? It offends you when people say it?
    Ellie- it’s identical to here. There’s no rule against using the word lame on this site. No one except you has a problem with it. and you don’t even have a problem with it!

    “”To be fair, I’ve no disabilities and ‘lame’ is not personally offensive to me, and I never said it was”

    I’ll say what I please within the bounderies of the rules. let’s move on

  • There is no palm that can possibly encompass the magnitude of my facepalm at this moment.

  • EllieMurasaki

    “I am not personally hurt by this” != “this hurts no one”

  • heres bigoted “anti war” really just selfish libertarian Rachael Maddow talking about a lame duck session 

  • Oh christ why did I even bother with you EVER


  • haha what are you talking about? this is crazy. everyone says lame

  • Lori


    Lori- what the therapist does is get them to overcome their OCD by
    touching doorknobs and that sort of thing. It’s called exposure therapy.
    It’s done with the help of a therapist but the person is doing it

    You help the person by facilitating them in this, not in making it
    easy for them to indulge in their behaviours. The goal is to cure the
    disaease, not just to make it more comfortable for the person
    experiencing it.   

    I realize that your epic self-involvement prevents you from processing or retaining any information about other people, but I was a psychology major in college and did social work as my first career. I have forgotten more about therapy that you ever have or every will know. Your generalizations about the therapeutic treatment of OCD are as shallow as everything else you “contribute” here. Just stop.

  • Lori


    I’ll say what I please within the bounderies of the rules. let’s move on   

    Fred really should ban you.

  • Lori

    There was a time when “everyone” said the N-word. That didn’t make it right.

    Also? Using “crazy” this way is rude and demeaning to the mentally ill. Not like you care, because no one tells Chris Hadrick what he is and is not allowed to say.


  • “Also? Using “crazy” this way is rude and demeaning to the mentally ill.”

    here we go again!

  • christopher_young

    CJB, Would you stop saying that either in front of me or in any other circumstance. I have cerebral palsy, if that’s of any interest to you, but I don’t see why I have to ask you to mind your manners where Ellie can do so equally well. Your argument is essentially that it’s OK to use the N word as long as everybody in the room is white. It isn’t. You are a troll.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Well, this was a nice thread about businesses until it got derailed.

  • AnonymousSam

    Do you enjoy coming across to others as a twelve year old who’s finally being trusted to use the computer without Mommy’s chaperoning?