When I was younger, I worked for a time as a metal fabricator. The result — besides keeping me physically active and fit — is that pieces of my work (large and small) are scattered all over southern Idaho, including places where the rich and famous run their fingers. There is a great deal of satisfaction in seeing those iron and brass creations and knowing what it took to achieve the final product, even though my name will never be associated with those works of functional art.
Being a newspaper editor/publisher is an entirely different experience.
Forty years ago, I wrote my first article for the newspaper I now own. Does anyone remember the two to three thousand articles I have written since then, or the countless photographs that appeared on the front page, or the free advertising given away to various school groups and civic organizations? No. What they remember is that last week I misused the word “loose” on the front page (it should have been “lose”).
Publishing a newspaper — a small town newspaper — is very much like the story of Sisyphus. Week to week, month to month, year to year… it is the same thing, over and over and over. Perhaps, if I were a larger publication, there could be the satisfaction of making money. Alas, that is not my lot in life. Instead, I must find my joy in the labor of rolling my rock (or in my case, ink) up the mountain of apathy that has become the number one problem of newspapers.
Fortunately, it is not all misery. Occasionally, a little old lady will give me a quiet word of encouragement and my spirit is lifted into the clouds above the mountain. Today… I ran her obituary.