EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the tenth and last in a series of Monday odes that chronicle the legacy newsroom. Each is written from different first-person perspective. Together they create the mumbled narrative of a special and sadly contracting culture. The author, Don Nelson, has been a newsman for almost 50 years. Links to previous odes are at the end of this poem.

 

READER, LEFT BEHIND

Hi there. Remember me?

Long-time subscriber, first-time caller.
I used to be your BFF.
Loyal. Supportive. Love print
Because it is tactile and portable
And accessible on my schedule.

I didn’t complain about the inane editorials
Or when the paper landed in the bushes
Instead of the front porch
Or when you raised subscription rates
Or when you slashed coverage
Or got rid of the movie and TV listings
Or pulled back distribution
And got rid of a century’s worth
Of editorial experience
In one day.

I stuck with you but
There are (at least) two things
I don’t understand:

Why are you so afraid of me?
You keep running cartoon strips
That haven’t been funny for 50 years
Or actually appeared (Peanuts) 50 years ago
Because you’re terrified I’ll cancel
If I can’t read Garfield?
(For the record, it was always awful).

And, why did you abandon me
For people who have no use for print
And will not ever pay for news?

When you pivoted to digital
I tried to pivot, too,
But it made me dizzy
And I had to lie down.

Do you even recognize me?
I’m your remaining demographic
And I’m going to die before
You figure this sh*t out.

 

To see previous poems:

Ode #1, City Editor, Friday Night 
Ode #2: Reporter, On Deadline
Ode #3: Copy Editor, Standing Guard
Ode #4: Photographer, Under The Gun
Ode #5: Publisher, In A Squeeze
Ode #6: CEO, In the Catbird Seat
Ode #7: Media Consultant, At a Cost
Ode #8: Keynote Speaker, Faking It
Ode #9: Former Staffer, Under The Bus

Most popular articles from Nieman Storyboard

Show comments / Leave a comment