Sunday, 7 February 2016

At the Media Apocalypse, only the cockroach survives

A short history of newspapers in Canada (as told by the cockroach)





I started out my journalism career as a scab, and now I am a cockroach.

While all the successful journos are either retired, packaged or punted out of the newsrooms, I survive.

I don't have a nice house, or a pension, I exist on crumbs thrown at me by the rich and powerful who have systematically dismantled the media landscape and rewarded themselves with big bonuses. I make $200 here, $50 there. I don't have a legacy or a career; I have a drawer full of clippings.

And a blog.

I was a scab when I started because that was the only way I could get work. I crossed picket lines, watched other scabs get their tires flattened by irate pressmen, the ones with the unions, the ones with a promise of a pension. I was little, I was small, I got in through the cracks to make my living.

That newspaper died in 1980 when the giant head decided to consume its tail in search of maximum profit.

The newspaper I worked for died along side another one. So sad, they were great Canadian newspapers -- the one I worked for, the other one shut down by the corporate lip-smackers. Now they exist in the fond memories of paperboys, and on microfiche at the Library of Parliament.


People left the business, took good government jobs with pensions. They bought houses and country club memberships, but I kept it up. Cockroaches know, when the time comes to tear down the house, she can always move to another one. We live in the walls to save money.

I moved to the walls of another great newspaper. That newspaper also had a legacy, a purpose. Alas, forty years later, it, too is foundering. Instead of being closed, it is being molded into something new, a hybrid concoction, a mixture of white flour and wheat, flax seed and butter. Nobody is quite sure what it is -- it has a tabloid heart and a broadsheet skin.

Now people are leaving, again. Tossed out on their ears. Nothing to show for their dedication, blood, sweat and tears.

The head is eating its tail again.

More good people are leaving, but this time there aren't good government jobs to go to. Distinguished writers are getting sick in the street. Even the posh leather bars they once frequented are closing.

Big giant heads are repairing to their log homes in the country, appearing on all news channels for the same $200 as the cockroach, writing books that are either discounted on Amazon, or they languish as rock bottom remainders at Chapters.

The news hole now is even too small for the cockroach who moves on to the last great battleground -- ghetto publishing. The bosses live in far off lands, places where people still believe that print is not dead. They soon begin eating their tails, and set the cockroach free again.

Now there are no walls to live in, no newsprint to eat, no clippings to collect.

There is just the cockroach standing, at the Media Apocalypse, and she is eying her tail.


1 comment:

  1. What can I say, Rosie? Except that when I got 'right-sized' out of my newspaper career decades ago, I had no idea how lucky I was.

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