Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When I was 15 years old I decided I wanted to one day start my own magazine. That dream pushed me to study journalism and English (with a focus in creative writing) in college and to go on to get a master’s in journalism with a concentration in magazine writing and publishing. After graduation I took a job at a lifestyles weekly in Louisville, Ky., and felt I was on my way. But things changed. My dream was interrupted. I married a man who will NEVER move to New York (which is where I was convinced I would have to live to start a magazine).  My desire to teach, which first arose when I was in undergrad, grew stronger. And the economy tanked, leaving journalism one of the most devastated industries.

Yesterday 50 employees at the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., were laid off as part of a 700-person staff reduction across all of parent company Gannett’s newspapers nationwide. My first journalism internship and my first full-time journalism job were at The Courier-Journal. Many of those people laid off were people with whom I worked long, grueling days and nights. Many of those people are my friends.

I mourn for them and, selfishly, I mourn for my own dreams. People constantly say that print journalism is dead and I’m quick to say, “No. It’s simply evolving and experiencing growing pains.” But after yesterday I’m not so sure. My faith in journalism has been shaken to the core.

Those of you who know me may think I shouldn’t care because I “got out” in time. But be clear that I left my former job two years ago for a new career in education because I was unfulfilled in my position and there was no opportunity for advancement, and because I really wanted to teach. I did not leave because I gave up on journalism. In fact, since the day I handed in my letter of resignation I’ve been seeking more and more freelancing opportunities.

Recently, that old dream of mine resurfaced. Suddenly I want to launch that magazine again and I’m convinced I can do it right here in the South. And after yesterday I want to do it right now so I can give jobs to all my friends who were laid off. But why on earth would anyone want to start a magazine now and how exactly am I supposed to do this with no startup money and while maintaining a career in education? I have no idea. But maybe I’ll keep rambling on this blog until I figure it out. And it sure would be great for all of you to come along for the ride.  


In the meantime, please keep my Louisville newspaper pals in your thoughts and prayers.

4 comments:

  1. First of all, I am very sorry to hear if yesterday's cuts and the impact it has on so many, including your friends. Ad a Horner newspaper reporter and current magazine editor, I have struggled to see so many of my friends impacted ad well. (I'm also really proud of what they've gone on to do.)

    I'm also thrilled that you are going after your dreams, and believe there's no better time to launch amazing writing projects right here in the South. It's a new day!

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  2. The economy has caused many to lose jobs, and made many of us rethink our dreams. I always thought New York was the prime place for a writer (and still do), but alas the Southern belle in me just can't rationalize the cost of living. When the economy tanked I rethought a lot of goals. Writing will never die, but print publishing will (and must) evolve. Into what, I'm not quite sure. It's been so hard for me to find freelance gigs and I have a full-time gig, so I can only imagine how it is for others. We must continue to pray for all those that are impacted by these cuts and layoffs. I applaud you in pursuing your dream and KNOW that anything is possible. Hey, you even have a Southern writer here--with no money er um of course.

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  3. Erin, thank you so much for the encouragement. You have been a constant source of inspiration since the day I met you. And Shermika, I am so glad to you have met you, too. Your support of GeorgiaMae.com and your enthusiasm for See Jane Write help keep me going!

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  4. I like to think of this situation as a "Dream Disguised"... I'm a writer, too, but my background isn't journalism--it's technical writing... and it has evolved and is continuing to transform. With all the writing needs for the web, for new products, for new stories, for news accessed by a million mobile devices...there are several opportunities for writers--just know, your new position may not be posted as a "writer".

    Jai...I want to hear more about this magazine! Let's chat...I may have some sources for you!

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