EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the eighth in a series of Monday odes that chronicle the legacy newsroom. Each is written from a 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. Previous poems are listed at after today’s ode.


You people will listen to anything.

At a media management conference
I gripped the podium, leaned forward
And pronounced to the room:
“Unless you are using
Fungible parametric systology
As your decision-making paradigm
You will fail.”

Everyone nodded and wrote it down.
No one asked what it meant because
No one wanted to look stupid
In front of all the others.

I made it up.

When I offered a webinar on
Fungible parametric systology
I made a small fortune in a single day.

I have a blog and a podcast
And am on the speed dial
Of every media analyst and media writer
And media critic and media guru
And self-promoting media pundit
In the country.

I acknowledge the irony
That I myself am
A self-promoting media pundit.
It pays better than most other media jobs.
And the fewer media jobs there are
The more people listen to me.

Here’s the secret: Always predict the worst.
When it happens, you’ll be a genius.
If it doesn’t, no one will remember.

You get paid either way.

To see previous poems in this series:

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: Pity the Poor Publisher
Ode #6: CEO, In the Catbird Seat
Ode #7: Media Consultant, At a Cost

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