E&P's Death Shows How Badly Newspapers Are Hurting

I found my first newspaper job 40 years ago through a classified ad in Editor&Publisher that was lying around our college daily's office.

That's where everyone in the newspaper business looked for work - and where we usually found it - all these years.

If you ever needed proof that the newspaper business is in deep trouble, yesterday's sad announcement that "E&P" will cease publication after 125 years, certainly provided it. The newspaper business may not be doomed entirely, but it's been gravely wounded by technology.

In all the daily papers where I've worked over the years, E&P was always something you could find in the newsroom. It was our bible in the newspaper business.

Joe Graf is the new managing editor of the Toledo Blade? John Bfitalic has left the Boston Globe for the Herald? We read about it first in E&P.

Noted press critic A.J. Liebling once famously noted,

"Freedom of the press is for people who own one."

We all own one now (thanks Apple, Dell, etc.), and for that reason some of us newspaper types saw all this coming and we now work largely online.

But for those press barons who DO own an actual, thundering printing plant, reading that Editor & Publisher would cease publication had to send a chill up their collective spines.

For us career newspaper people, it won't be the same world without E&P. But it hasn't been, for years. You could see this coming years ago as news holes and the size of newspapers - and their staffs - continued to shrink. Last year, we watched the once-powerful Seattle P-I and the Rocky Mountain News die, sadly.

The last time I walked through a daily's newsroom, last year, I saw too many empty desks where editors and reporters once sat and plied our trade. I also saw empty, darkened offices in this West Coast daily owned by the New York Times. It was such a depressing sight I vowed not to do it again. I miss newsrooms, but not empty, partially darkened ones.

It's a different media world today, and E&P's shuttering merely confirms it - in boldface.