Trying to grasp the situation

I’m worried.

I’m worried about my career, I’m worried about the newspaper I work for, I’m worried about my profession.

You’ve seen the news. Papers are shrinking in circulation, they’re losing money, they’re cutting pages, they’re cutting jobs.

I try to follow the blogs and twitter posts/links about ideas on how to right the ship, and I’m watching while my paper prepares to transform itself into something that will better serve the community going forward.

I’m not even going to try to explain all that’s happening, either with our paper or with the state of journalism in general. That isn’t the intent of this post; you can find tons of great ideas and insights in the blogs on You’ll surely find much better blogs than mine. They post more often, they cite many other blogs that they’re constantly monitoring, they have a lot more going on.

Me? I’ve tried, had little success, and have been frustrated. I can’t even get my twitter feed going here on wordpress. It probably should be really easy for someone who’s decently web-savvy, which I’m not. And I’ve attended a basic html learning course that was offered at my work, but can’t really get anywhere on the homework we’ve been given: to design a relatively simple web page. (This probably explains why my blog site is so visually bare.) (1/16/09 UPDATE: my blog site and design has been revised since this posting.)

As far as suggestions or solutions regarding the challenges facing journalism, I’m trying to stay on top of all that’s out there, but there are so many ideas it can be really daunting. And I feel like it’s kind of pointless for me to share ideas or blogs I’ve come across, because these ideas are ones that most of the professionals I work with already have seen–I’d just be bouncing an idea they sent out right back at them.

Essentially, I feel really timid about what I myself can offer regarding the state of journalism. My personality, unfortunately, doesn’t allow me to jump up and shout out questions or ideas. Who am I to say what I think would work? I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing, but I’m a very modest person, which I’ve heard Asians are. I’m not about drawing attention to myself. (It’s a miracle I can even get a job, since I feel uncomfortable tooting my own horn and would rather just say “I’m OK at it.”)

Here are the things I know I can do well: I’m a pretty decent writer. I’m a pretty good copy editor. I can write strong headlines every now and then. And I’m confident that I can learn things quickly (although that html stuff is starting to make me think otherwise.)

Those are all things you learn in school and then apply in real-life applications such as a job. But when it comes to trying to figure out a solution to an ever-changing problem such as the changing state of journalism today, I don’t feel like I’ve been able to offer very much, and thus, I keep quiet.

It’s frustrating. It’s scary. And I think since I don’t have anything new to offer to this conversation, why bother adding a new post to this blog? So I try finding other stuff to write about. Irrevent stuff. But then again, I find myself asking myself, “Why would anyone care about this?” Other than maybe a handful of relatives and friends, whom I could easily tell in person. It’s like that Sonic commercial where the guy says “this shake is really tasty! I’ll have to write about it on my blog.” And his wife says, “Why, so your mom can read about it?”

That’s about where I’m at.

Truth be told, I’m a worker bee. Tell me what to do and I’ll go at it 100 percent. I’ve learned I like being behind the scenes. I’m hoping that as my newspaper reinvents itself, I can be a solid contributor toward making that change work. I’ve tried to prepare myself so that I can be in that position to help. But I don’t know if I’ve done enough. Don’t know if I ever will have done enough, I guess.

Now I’m just rambling. I guess I wrote this so that somehow I can get a better grasp on all these thoughts swirling around in my head.

It’s worth a try.


~ by davidllee on January 11, 2009.

5 Responses to “Trying to grasp the situation”

  1. Sometimes the people with “all the ideas” are just throwing around a catch phrases and it is those who “are trying to grasp the situation” who will come up with the best ideas. We can all appreciate someone who doesn’t repeat what’s been said just so he or she can have a voice. Quiet contemplation is highly undervalued and rare.

    In other words, at least you know that you don’t. 🙂 I loved reading this blogpost more than other ones about newspapers.

  2. Thanks, Hidama. I appreciate the response, it’s making me feel better about my situation at the moment. I didn’t even add a tweet linking to this post because I wasn’t sure if I should be throwing those thoughts out there, especially to those who may have a say in how or whether I’ll be part of the Gazette’s reinvention. (Not that I didn’t want them to read this post, but I didn’t want to be drawing any extra attention to it.)

  3. I was in that HTML class too. Don’t let it get you down if you can’t do the homework. I’ve been struggling with it too since it was sent out and am guessing we’re not alone. Basically, we need more training before we can do it. I’m trying to do some of that on my own.
    And I agree with Hidama — Just the mere fact that you’re being honest on your blog and not regurgitating random things other people are saying is a great start!

  4. […] and leadership. David Lee, a copy editor, spoke for many of his colleagues when he wrote in his Write On blog last week, “I’m worried about my career, I’m worried about the newspaper I work for, […]

  5. […] 2009 Roll with the punches Posted by davidllee under journalism   The funny thing about my Jan. 11 post is that I never made any mention of it (like via Twitter, which I normally would do) because I […]

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