Something Old, Something New


Photo by Mike Maple/The Commercial Appeal

Photo by Mike Maple/The Commercial Appeal

Apparently, there are people out there who still read the Commercial Appeal. My appearance in a story on coping with layoffs on Tuesday helped spike hits to this blog again.

And of course, if you haven’t read it, it’s still news. The Internet offers an almost permanent half-life for these sorts of things. So thanks to reporter Richard Alley for talking to me.

Thanks to everyone who took a look. If you missed it, you can click here to read the #1 hit if you had searched “Doug Johnson” on Google News. Now that that’s out of the way, we return you now to your regularly scheduled blog.

Ah, that new job smell.  There’s nothing else like it. We’ll all had the experience of the first day at a new position. You show up at a place you’re not too familiar with, trying to remember everything that was pointed out to you during your interview walk through.

You get all the paperwork, finding out that you don’t have all the things you need to complete everything, like a voided check for direct deposit, or a passport for Homeland Security (I know some people have claimed I look vaguely Middle Eastern, but really!).

You meet a lot of people, all of whom you’re expected to remember. There’s a massive amount of information, job info, hr info, procedures, computer usernames and passwords, directions to the men’s room.  And on top of that, you’re often asked to do some actual work on that first day. So naturally, I was a bit drained by the end of my day.

Still, it’s much better than the alternative. Even though you don’t “go to work” when you’re unemployed, it’s really draining. Even if there’s enough in the bank to cover the bills, there’s still the concern of how long that’s going to last, along with whether anyone will respond to any of the resumes you’ve sent or calls you’ve made.

My friend Pam sent me a link to a blog called In Vocus. There’s a piece on how both new and veteran journalists are struggling with the shrinking job market for news people. It’s never been an easy field to be in. While “being on TV” may seem glamorous to people watching TV, it’s anything but. It can take a long time and some good luck to be able to make decent money. Especially for journalists in medium or smaller towns and cities.

It’s amazing to me that people are still choosing the news business are a career path. There was a story the other day about reps from some of the nation’s major newspapers meeting to discuss ways to charge for their content on the Internet. Good point. If you actually went out and bought the Commercial Appeal to see the story I was in, it cost you 75 cents. If you clicked the link I put in this blog, you can read it for free.

A lofty goal now...

A lofty goal now...

Many get all the news they need or want online. But what if all these newspapers fail? They’re the ones gathering most of the news that gets on the Internet. Even TV, which does very little truly original reporting, is giving it away on the web.

...and 101 years ago

...and 101 years ago

If those sources can no longer make enough through traditional means (selling ads), they’ll go under. Then there will be no source for news aggregators and other sites. And believe me, while “citizen reporting” has a legitimate place, there’s no way that regular people, untrained in journalistic techniques, can blog and tweet the quality of information we need to make informed decisions.

Not my daughter

Not my daughter

Oh, I mentioned that I was the yesterday’s #1 hit for “Doug Johnson” on Google News. Number 2 is a story from an Iowa TV station on Shawn Johnson, the Olympic medalist who won “Dancing with the Stars.” Turns out her dad’s name is Doug too.

Now that his little girl has won Olympic gold and a big shiny TV trophy, Doug says the top priority for the 17-year old is finishing high school. That’s cool.

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