Christmas memories of industry colleagues, and newspapers sadly long shuttered but their owners
TalkingNewMedia.com will be closed for Christmas through the 28th. All of us who write for TNM wish you and yours the happiest of holidays
This post was originally written last year for TNM on Christmas Eve. Here is a slightly edited version for this year:
It is at Christmas time that I miss the newspaper business the most. Not the newspaper business of today – as I have been away from it for so long – but the pre-Internet time of the eighties, when there was no email, only those annoying beepers (I don’t miss those).
Working at Hearst in Los Angeles was a fine way to enter the business, and despite our paper getting beaten up by the LA Times, was still loads of fun. Christmas, then, meant only a couple days off, as few of us felt we could be off a full week or more. Christmas Eve meant the day starting getting ad copy in for the coming couple day’s papers, then starting the festivities.
In the classified ad department where I started, we could shut down earlier than the newsroom, even though we kept the phones open for last minute ad changes and the odd call from someone who wanted to sell their car. It might not have been Fezziwig’s, but it was close.
We too often forget those of our colleagues who keep the newsroom open over the holidays, often rookie reporters and editors, stuck with holiday duty. Forty years ago, though, I remember being taken to the offices of the Detroit Free Press on Christmas Eve as he needed to do something or other. The newsroom was packed more than usual as every reporter, every editor had come to the office to wish their colleagues a Merry Christmas. Whether newsrooms have the same esprit de corps I don’t know, but I hope so.
Today, of course, it is considered fbad policy to allow alcohol in the newsroom on the holidays – but I can’t imagine the Herald Examiner without the presence of it. The ‘corner bar’ wasn’t actually on the corner, but directly across a dark side street from the building – and in the event of an emergency, the one place you could be sure to find management. Rumor was that there was a hidden tunnel under the street that led to the joint, and if you know the old Herald Examiner building you won’t doubt it.
Magazine people have it easy by comparison. In B2B, the first deadline of the coming year is usually five to six weeks prior to the publication date so the big test of any magazine comes around December 1st. The Christmas holidays only interfere with the February issue. At consumer titles, that first deadline is far earlier – the holidays aren’t even a consideration.
At B2B websites such as TNM, we get to shut the doors and take off. But if TNM had an actual staff, one made up of more than myself and contributors (more than 40 contributed stories appeared this year), I would insist on being open 24/7, even during the holidays. That would make me more a Scrooge than a Fezziwig, I suppose.
But that is not the case, so TNM is shutting down for a couple of days for the holiday. On Monday of next week posts will begin again. Also, Paul Blake and I will be starting the rush to deadline of the relaunch issue of App Publisher, so if you have any story ideas, or have something to contribute, we would love to hear from you!
In the meantime, have a safe, peaceful and enjoyable Christmas holiday, and may the coming year be prosperous and personally satisfying.
TNM wishes you and your family and friends a very happy holidays.