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Every year, I’m amazed at how fast time passes once you become an adult. I remember being a young teen-ager, wishing I was 16 so I could drive, or telling Dad that I couldn’t wait until I’d graduate from high school.
“Don’t wish your life away,” Dad would say, and I’d just roll my eyes, as any good teen-ager will do.
We adults understand that phrase all too well, I’m sure. I think it was when I took my first real newspaper job that I noticed time moving faster. And toward what? Suddenly, I was 30. Then 35. Now I’m 39 – at least that’s what my husband is trained to say. In 2010, I’ll be going to my 30-year high school reunion, if anyone is left to plan it.
Honestly, when I see photos of someone I haven’t seen for a long time who is now in their mid-40s to early 50s, I think, “Wow, he sure looks old!” In my mirror, I am Dorian Gray ... growing younger (or at least staying put, agewise) as my portrait grows older in the attic.
I no longer “wish my life away,” rather I would be very happy for it to slow down a bit. I can’t seem to keep up with it anymore. Part of it is being in the newspaper business for so long – here, we are constantly working in the future, working toward the next Wednesday’s issue.
I have few resolutions for 2009, as I’m pretty confident I won’t keep them anyway. But, one I will make is to enjoy life more and try to live in the moment more often.
For 2009, I want to have hope. I hope that our new president is as successful as his supporters believe he will be. I hope that everyone will figure out how to work together to fix this mired-down economy we face.
I hope that local business and industry does not suffer irrevocably from this recession. I don’t want to see people I know lose jobs or income, or their homes.
But, I am thinking of myself, too. Newspapers large and small depend on advertisers for the revenue that pays the bills and our salaries. So, it’s crucial for us, too, that businesses in Carroll County and the surrounding area will hang in there during these tough times.
I’ve always seen my job as fairly recession-proof. Working on a small paper with a small staff would seem to mean that our jobs are fairly secure. But the future of newspapers is bleak, not just because of the economy. The Internet has changed the playing field a lot.
As we rely on advertisers, we also rely on our readers and subscribers. Our circulation numbers help us to establish the rates we set for advertising. So, I’m hoping our readers continue to see and understand the value of the product all of us here work so hard to put out every week.
I never thought that we could see the end of newspapers in my lifetime, or even within the span of my own career – even though CCN mogul Ted Turner predicted it 25 years ago with the advent of his cable TV news channel.
Though I don’t really believe newspapers will die completely, the industry is bound to change a lot as we struggle to keep up with and use technological advances, and to stay relevant to our communities.
There are so many problems facing us in 2009, but I choose to hold onto my optimisim. I wish everyone a wonderful and prosperous New Year.
Phyllis McLaughlin is editor of The News-Democrat. Opinions expressed do not always reflect those of the newspaper.