On a Saturday in early June 1994 I graduated from Cal Poly SLO with a degree in journalism and a passion for newspapers. Two days later I started work as a reporter at the 8,000 circulation, 6-day paper The Lompoc Record. For the next 15 years, I did almost everything you can do in a newspaper newsroom. I wrote stories, took photos, copy edited stories, line edited stories, created tables, charts and graphics, designed the paper, edited the paper and the list goes on.
About the only thing I didn’t do was write editorials – I found an outlet for that itch by starting this blog more than 8 years ago.
While I was consistently annoyed by the MSM’s bias and periodic blinkered idiocy, I could take pride in the fact that the vast majority of the day-to-day journalism produced by The San Diego Union-Tribune was untainted. The vast majority of local reporting just doesn’t touch on the national political scene.
I fully expected to be found dead with my face smack down in my computer keyboard after deadline at a ripe old age – because I never really expected retire with what newspapers pay.
So, to say I was surprised that I was one of more than 190 people laid off at the Union-Tribune back in May would be an understatement. I won’t speak to the wisdom or the decision-making that I believe went on when the paper made those cuts because I signed an agreement that included a non-disparagement clause in order to get my well-deserved severance.
In the ensuing hours after being handed my pink slip, I started to reach out to anyone and everyone I could for help in getting a new job.
One of those kind enough to lend a hand was University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds, better known as the Instapundit. In the days after he posted about my sacking, I received thousands of hits here at Hoystory (known as an Instalanche) and hundreds of people looked at my resume online.
Total job offers from media outlets: 0.
Job offers from math textbook/web site companies: 1
To make a long story short: An Instapundit reader is my new boss.
Do I miss the newspaper business? Far less than I thought I would.
I’m enjoying working for a small, family business where I can have a far larger impact than being one of hundreds in a newspaper newsroom.
I enjoy working normal-person hours. I enjoy having holidays off – it had been more than 15 years since I’d had a 4-day weekend at Thanksgiving and rumor has it I’ll get Christmas off too.
Most of all, I enjoy working in a less politically charged atmosphere. I like walking around an office where there aren’t any “Yes We Did” posters on cubicles or photo montages comparing former President George W. Bush to a variety of simians.