Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mangan on the buyout ...

Tom Mangan, always a friendly face at ACES meetings, a copy editor at the Mercury News and proprietor of the Busy Being Born blog and Banned for Life - a compendium of news media cliches, tells what it's like being on the inside at a paper McClatchy says it will sell as part of the deal to buy Knight Ridder.

Some of his observations:
I've been a newspaperman for the past 20 years and I've always faced the same issue: Most towns have one newspaper that pays a living wage. If you want to stay in the newspaper biz, you either decide the town is nice enough to make up for the paper's failings, or the paper's nice enough to make up for the town's failings. ...

So it's no small consequence to find yourself believing you've found a nice paper in a nice town. That's what happened to me in the summer of '99. I took a job at the San Jose Mercury News because it had a solid reputation and I wanted to see the tech boom up close. Since then I've taken a liking to both the town and the paper. ...

And it turns out that regardless of the woes afflicting the newspaper business, people like me are still in demand, still getting nice jobs in nice towns. So long as news exists, somebody willl have to prepare it for public consumption, so I'll always be able to find work. If they outsource all the copy editing to India, I figure what the heck, I always wanted to see the Taj Mahal, and I'm used to being polite in the company of cattle (Thank you East Bay Regional Park District). ...

So I'm planning to just ride it out and see what happens. If I end up in Toledo in six months, so be it. It could be a nice town with a nice paper, for all I know.

That's vintage Tom. And here's wishing the best to him and all those at K-R still wondering what their futures hold.


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