He was hungover, blindingly so, and making his regular promises to never drink again.
“Professor, are you alright?” A blonde student in the front row called out, snapping him back to reality. A wave of vertigo hit as he looked out into the assembled faces of his Journalism 101 class.
“Why are you here?” he growled to the class.
“Professor?” The girl asked, confused.
“Simple question, goldilocks. Why. Are. You Here? Because I’ll tell you right now, most of you, if you’re lucky, will end up in PR or marketing or something marginally related to your degree. But the unlucky few of you will get a real journalism job with crap pay and worse hours and constant cutbacks at the only paper left in town.
“Sure, it’s got two Pulitzers. One from fighting the KKK almost a hundred years ago when it still gave a damn, and another one for the scribblings of a conservative jackass cartoonist. But now its filled with wire stories and shrinking column inches.
“Really, you’d be better off opening up an independent paper in your parent’s garage.”
He blinked in a moment of clarity.
“And now I know what your final project’s going to be.”
As the market for printed news shrinks year after year, the Commercial Appeal, the historic local daily, is taking it from all sides. Journalists are getting fired, pages are getting cut, and more and more stories are coming from the newswire. What used to be a guiding voice in the culture of Western Tennessee is slowly but surely becoming obsolete.