A lot of great news people I’ve known have left the profession, some just fed up with the way things were going, some no longer regarded with favor at a time when staffs are shrinking and standards are falling.
Since I left the profession 18 months ago, I’ve met a lot of others outside my little world and I think we all share the experience one way or another: Liberation.
Now, many of us are free to use what we know to pursue our real dreams through unexplored territory. Our reading, listening and viewing habits are undergoing radical change so figuring out the who, what, when, where and why of news provides the opportunity to reinvent journalism.
I believe the decline of corporate control of the media has liberated America, and hopefully, freed us to speak freely in public, make more creative choices in our lives and listen better to others.
It is uncharted territory how the news and information revolution plays out in years to come. There will surely be hundreds of creative and entrepreneurial wizards who create great products that offer a competition for minds and hearts unlike any we have seen in our lifetimes.
My own contribution is OurLA.org — a central place on the Internet where citizens, experts, journalists, anyone can contribute what they know for the whole community.
Thanks to Valley civic leader David Fleming and many other generous people, my dream is becoming a reality with the help of a young reporter named Chelsea Cody who last year was editor of the Cal State Northridge paper.
It’s a struggle for money and, more importantly, to convince the community to actively participate and submit their news articles, opinions, photos, videos. So many people have their own personal or community websites that reach their own audiences.
OurLA is trying to create a central clearing-house so the knowledge and wisdom of the community is shared widely. We believe a better informed community is an important element in creating a healthier civic culture in LA and bring together the city’s diverse people into a common conversation.
We don’t know if we can succeed but we’re giving it all we’ve got. In their own way, so are hundreds of other former journalists across the country.
There’s not much money in it for now, except for the few, but that’s the price of living your dream.
Doug McIntyre is the latest to join our fast-growing club.
He’s among the most brilliant, knowledgeable and talented people I’ve met along my own private journey.
And more than that, Doug knows what’s really going on in the civic and political life of LA as well as anyone else in the media.
Doug entered my life when he volunteered to write a column for free when I was still editor of the Daily News. When I got fired, he put me on once a week for 4 months, which helped me launch my new life post-journalism.
McIntyre was fired last week by KABC and the company that bought the radio network at a time the entire media world was changing. Tough luck for them.
Doug has started his new life, as many of us do, with a blog: RadioGasBag.com. Hopefully, he will be scooped up by a local station that recognizes he is an important community asset with a large following.
Facing the challenge of making a living and deciding what to do with the rest of his life is part of the normal sequence most of us have gone through when we engage these kinds of life changes.
The most talented, like Doug, suffer this more than others. What are the options? What kind of chances can one afford to take? Is there a creative opportunity?
Most people don’t take those questions seriously enough during their whole lifetimes but I believe many of us, in all walks of life, will be facing them more frequently in the years ahead.
I think the world of hyper-consumerism, America’s the richest country in the world, you can have anything you want whenever you want it, is over.
We don’t create wealth in America anymore; we consume the sources of wealth: Raw materials and manufactured goods are imported while we have become a service-based workforce.
We are borrowing to sustain our illusory lives of super-affluence and sticking a younger generation with the bills, and hope they won’t wake up from their electronic dream any time soon.
Those are just some of the ideas that run through my mind.
Doug McIntyre has better ones. So do my friends Tezozomoc and Stephen Box and hundreds of others, journalists and citizens, that I’ve had the privilege of getting to know since I was lucky enough to start down the road of Ronnie Kaye’s excellent free adventure.
As far as I can see, the times really are changing this time.