Local news, 1 chunk at a time

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 24, 2013

There are days when all of us feel like we have the worst job in the world, but it’s something to read that you actually do have the nation’s top worst job for 2013.

You guessed it – or at least according to a report sent out by CareerCast, which listed the top 10 worst jobs for the year.

Authors described the position as “a job that has lost its luster dramatically over the past five years is expected to plummet even further by 2020. Paul Gillin says, ‘the print model is not sustainable. It will probably be gone within the next 10 years.’ ”

Interesting, but not quite true, in my opinion.

As someone once explained to me, you can’t cut out a photo on the Internet of your baby coming across home plate or accepting an award. That’s why community papers will survive. What those publications have to do is adapt.

The Star-News newsroom traveled to Georgia last week to learn just how do that – how to make our papers more about you, the reader.

The presenter talked about how we’ve trained ourselves to get our news in “chunks.” Think about the square of a cell phone, e-reader or computer screen. There’s your chunk. We were coached to go one step further and divide the story into easily digestible chunks – boxes of important facts, graphs or the like.

And above all else, we were taught to ask ourselves “Why is this important to our readers?”

As a profession, being a reporter is stressful and it’s won’t make you rich. The hours are unpredictable, because let’s face it, who knows when breaking news will happen. It makes having a life outside the office difficult. But is it worth it? I believe so, especially in a community like ours. It’s important to know who made the A and B honor roll, which you will find inside this edition. It’s important to know that the baseball team made it to the second round of the playoffs, and that game-changing catch is forever captured in print. It’s important to know who not only got arrested but also was also buried or married.

And while one would argue you could get that from the newspaper webpage, there’s something to be said for tangible proof in print, a clipping you can hold in your hand and mail to Grandma.

So, no. I don’t think being a reporter is the worst job of the year. I think it’s the best.

I sure think it is better than being a lumberjack, an enlisted military personnel member, an actor, an oil field worker, a dairy farmer, a meter reader, a mail carrier, a roofer, or lastly, a flight attendant – which were the other professions that rounded out their top 10.