Journalism keeps making me sick to the stomach. And I'm getting a little sick of it. And this time, I can't even blame an editor …
In fact, I don't know who to blame. I went to a recent awards ceremony held by the San Diego Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists at the Bali Hai restaurant on Shelter Island. We ate, we drank, we laughed …
And then, soon afterward, about 60 of the 170 people attending started to get sick, me included. A norovirus outbreak, its cause unknown, was the culprit. A couple people — not me, thankfully — had to be hospitalized.
I can only say: Somebody, please, give us a break already!
Have we not endured enough?
No doubt you've read about the trials and tribulations of modern journalism — from your iPhone ...
We've gone through years of buyouts and layoffs and, in cases, ownership changes. We've seen a parade of colleagues head out the door to PR …
Or Starbucks …
What's next? Locusts at the 2016 event? An asteroid?
These journalism ceremonies are always bittersweet, given the state of the industry. At this one, we all were lamenting the recent news of the upcoming end of the San Diego Daily Transcript, which had published for 129 years.
Several of the paper's staffers were present, proudly accepting their awards and getting hearty rounds of applauds. Hopefully, they use them to pad their resumes. Hopefully, there will be jobs for which to send said resumes.
I know the feeling. In 2011, I was laid off from the San Diego Union-Tribune after 13 years at the paper. I'm not sure how to put in words the feeling of being laid off from a job you loved.
Well, it was like a punch to the gut.
It made me sick inside to call my wife and tell her the news.
It made me sick inside to tell my daughter, who was entering her first year of college, that her father was now unemployed after being in the newspaper business for 25 years.
I was hardly alone, of course. The paper had been shedding jobs for years. It made me sick inside to see my colleagues go. It twisted my insides to see them break down in tears after getting the news.
How's this for irony? One of my former colleagues who got laid off from the Union-Tribune quickly rebounded by getting a job at the Transcript. He was at the event, too. Goodness, I hope he was spared the virus ...
This is one job you need a strong stomach for. You deal with a lot of stress as it is, such as deadlines, late nights, early mornings, editors, editors and more editors. And don't forget to Tweet, already!
Yes, I went back into it. I got lucky. I got a job as the managing editor of a San Diego online news site, as well as several magazines. I didn't think twice when I got the offer. I had been working in PR.
I was thrilled to be back. I got to write again. I got to write real stories again. I know very well it could be fleeting. I, um, read the papers. It could end tomorrow. It could end 10 minutes from now, for all I know.
But I can't help it. I love it.
I just hope my stomach can take it for a little bit longer.