The pieces fall into place, except where they don't
I've been busy with money-making activities. Working, as it were, for The Man.
First came the Reno News & Review, about which several people actually did inquire. I'll be doing a weekly column and occasional other stories. Editor Brian Burghart and his staff have done a good job for a long time, and I'm happy to be there.
I don't know if this is still true, but when I was learning to write boring stories in journalism school, most students imagined themselves working for aggressive "underground" weeklies, blowing the lids off scandals and sending mayors to jail while the Big Papers could only placate their advertisers and envy our freedom. Some of the attraction wore off after we learned about the starvation wages that usually go with those jobs, but a working wife allows a man options. I'm pleased to be part of a noble effort.
Second, I'll be doing commentary now and then on KOLO TV, Channel 8. The details are still vague, at least to me, but for now it will be a couple of minutes of comment on the 6:30 News on some or perhaps all Wednesday evenings, then a short segment on Daybreak, the morning snow, the next day. I did the first two this week and thought I was fairly bad, though not humiliatingly so...less wooden than Howdy Doody, for those who remember him, but not as riveting as, say, the early Al Gore. Somewhere around Mitt Romney.
My brief acquaintance with television news has been instructive, though. As a career print journalist, I had the usual print bias: Only newspapers do real news. TV was all hair and capped teeth.
Uh, no. I've sat in the KOLO news room through a couple of production cycles (I'm not sure if "production cycle" is real TV talk or if I made it up), and I was impressed. The pretty faces, including mine, are a tiny part of the operation. Back where the cameras don't go, real news people are writing real stories and real editors are making making decisions under pressures I believe are greater than those at a newspaper. If a paper's press run starts 10 minutes late, somebody gets yelled at but the readers never know. If a news broadcast starts 10 minutes late, people change the channel and don't come back.
It's actually pretty intimidating, and I say that as a guy who wrote on deadline for three decades. Plus you have to wear a tie, sit up straight and there's no Backspace key, so your mistakes just hang there in God's own air.
KOLO has fixed me up with an e-mail address, email@example.com, on which I'm happy to receive comments, advice and suggestions for future commentaries. I'm struggling a little with remote access at this point, but that will get well, and meanwhile I'll be going by the office to check it out. E-mails containing the word "pathetic" will be discarded.