Call the Roller of Big Cigars

On May 17 2008 they handed me a diploma and returned me to the World, blinking and kind of stunned.  Four years of my life had passed like a fold in paper, and the last four months especially felt like no time at all.  I remember waking up in Columbus, Ohio on the 18th to a formation of sprinklers tick-tick-ticking spurts of water across a beautiful backyard.  In my half-sleep delirium, I though the Real World must be some kind of eden, some strange fresh-smelling new life without papers, without exams, without petty, unmerited stress.  It was charming.

For about five minutes.

For those who didn’t catch the last season of The Wire, here’s the moral of the story: print media is taking a swan dive, from the national dailies to the community weeklies.  Sam Zell’s takeover of the Tribune has so far been marked by retreats, causing columnists to openly wonder whether or not the media conglomerate can remain financially solvent.  What isn’t failing is consolidating: Rupert Murdoch marches on, gobbling up The Wall Street Journal without shame (but thankfully, not without protest).

On a practical level, this means a glut of experienced reporters on the job market.  For every job posting on JournalismJobs.com, count on at least forty responses, most of which are embarrassingly overqualified.  For the aspiring reporter–one year’s experience as an intern, a solid GPA and an array of bright, shiny references–spunk and ambition don’t cut the mustard.

You can guess what the past few months have been like for me.  For those who can’t, a visual aid.

Thank god–or chance, luck, whatever–I finally landed a job at a local quarterly.  The diploma was a start, but adulthood can only truly commence with a desk, corkboard, filing cabinet and telephone extension.  In the months to come, the diligent reader can expect plenty of  smirking anecdotes from my professional life, each sodden with irony and choking on self-satisfaction.  Regular content will proceed as if, after January 3 2008, I didn’t drop off the face of the earth.

Oh, dry those eyes.  I missed you too.

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2 Responses to “Call the Roller of Big Cigars”

  1. Where are these alleged “regular” entries, dear Rob? Your readers are anxious to hear what kind of trouble you’re getting into with a desk and a telephone extension. I am certain you won’t dissappoint us.

  2. i agree. i want to know how you decorate your corkboard.

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