Sunday, March 15, 2009

'Confessions of a Subversive Newspaper Man'

Bill Steigerwald is the latest casualty of troubled economic times in the newspaper industry.

Best known for his insightful Q&A columns, the associate editor of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes a farewell to readers after making his first million as a professional writer/editor. Unfortunately, it took Steigerwald 36 years of toiling away in newspapers to earn that much money. He's taking what he refers to as a "modest buyout" from his employer and leaving the newspaper.

One of the advantages of working for a newspaper is you often have an opportunity to say goodbye to your readers when you leave a job.

From Steigerwald's farewell column:
By my rough count, I've written at least 1,000 words a week -- nearly 2 million career words. That includes more than 1,000 newspaper opinion pieces. Only my mother has read and liked them all.

As a reporter, I've tried my best to be accurate, fair and truthful. I've always been aware of the difference between news and opinion, between balance and bias, and between being a government watchdog and a government lapdog. And I have always known that every journalist and every editor I have ever worked with was helplessly subjective in their politics and in their definition of what news and bias were and were not.
Steigerwald has some ambitious career plans for the immediate future:
I'm not retiring. I'm just leaving daily newspaper journalism to see what happens to me for the last third of my life.

I've tried my best to make newspaper journalism more interesting, entertaining and politically balanced. I had my fun. I afflicted my enemies and comforted my friends. I have no regrets. Now it's time to freelance, teach a journalism class and write some books, including my memoir, which has the working title "Confessions of a Subversive Newspaper Man."
I'm looking forward to reading your book, Bill.

Read the full column at the newspaper's Web site.

No comments: