In three months since Election Day, at least a half-dozen prominent journalists have taken jobs working for the federal government. Journalists, including some of those who’ve jumped ship, say it’s better to have a solid job in government than a shaky job – or none at all – in an industry that’s fading fast.
Of the 95 print journalists credentialed to cover the California Legislature during the 2007-08 session, 25 are now gone. Actually, the proportion of departures is far higher, because the 95 credentials include many people who don’t really cover the Capitol on a daily or even weekly basis.
With several big-city dailies facing closure and the cover of Time last week pondering the fate of the American newspaper, I listened to young Voice of San Diego journalists talk about their work with words like "exhilarating," "fulfilling" and "fun." My tiny, ink-sotted heart soared. The lessons out of the sunny offices on Point Loma appear to be these: A local news site can flourish on charitable donations. It helps to have one big benefactor to get things started. It makes more sense to cover a few topics well, rather than a lot poorly.