Monday, September 08, 2014

Indiana newspapering

These are depressing times for newspapering in Indiana.
The Indianapolis Star downsized this week, cutting loose a lot of loyal and talented people, as part of a reorganization involving the move from the longtime home of the paper at 307 N. Pennsylvania to abandoned retail space in the faltering Circle Center Mall. The Mall, anchored by a Nordstrom’s department store, lost much of its local patronage because of the presence of teenage gangs. That should make for an interesting newsroom environment.
While we were back in Indiana last week, our attention was called to an ad in The Lebanon Reporter seeking a new managing editor. Among the criteria, a requirement of a journalism degree. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of people I’ve worked with who had J-school degrees that I considered competent journalists.
As I have pointed out before, that requirement means the following brilliant writers, many of whom worked on newspapers, could not get hired at the Reporter:
James Baldwin
Ambrose Bierce
Erskine Caldwell
Truman Capote
Agatha Christie
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)
Joseph Conrad
Theodore Dreiser
William Faulkner
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Dashiell Hammett
Ben Hecht
Ernest Hemingway
William Sydney Porter (O. Henry)
Jack Kerouac
Jack London
Henry Miller
Dorothy Parker
Edgar Allan Poe
Geneva Grace Stratton (Gene Stratton Porter)
William Saroyan
Mickey Spillane
John Steinbeck
Dylan Thomas
Hunter S. Thompson
Leon Uris
Requiring a journalism degree is pretty close to a guarantee of mediocrity.

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