Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Who suffers first in the death of the press


For all the mourning—some of it preemptive—over the loss of journalists’ jobs in the implosion of the news business, let’s remember that it’s the other trades that made papers come out on time that have suffered already and will suffer first and most. Journalists, if they’re smart and daring, might be able to save their careers and craft.

Steve Yelvington on Twitter pointed me today to the Museum der Arbeit and its exhibit on the printing trade: the “disappearance of an entire profession in the course of industrialization.” Typesetters are long gone as are page compositors and lithographers and mailers (the guys who tied the bundles) and copy boys (a job description that disappeared almost in time for it not to be updated with copy girls) and proofreaders and paperboys and… I worked with people of all those job descriptions and more with titles I can’t remember or find on Google through the eras of hot type and cold. (When I asked for a list of these disappearing newspaper job titles on Twitter, one wag added, “shareholders.”) >>MORE

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