Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Becalmed in the journalistic horse latitudes

Back when I was a Gannett wage slave, I always dreaded this time of year – the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

We used to hope for some kind of disaster because all of the usual sources of news were dormant. No government meetings, no athletic events to speak of, and all of the newsmakers out of town.

So with nothing happening, we turned our attention inward and conjured up endless lists of the top 10, 20, 50, etc. local, state, national, and international news and sports stories of the year.

It was a combination of narcissism and a response to lots of space to fill in the paper.

I hated writing these stupid stories because the choice of news events and their ranking was purely subjective. And I’m sure they were the least-read things I ever wrote for publication. Really, who cares what some editor thinks were the important events of the past year? It’s certainly not the kind of think that gets cut out and stuck on the refrigerator door. That’s where the really good stuff ends up.

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