(S.O.S. Exclusive) Collin Brooks: Thoughts from a former journalist


In 2017, Collin Brooks left the world of journalism to take a position with the school system in Johnson City, Tennessee. We asked Collin to share some thoughts from his new perspective.

“For the people.”

Those simple words just might just might save a few newspapers.

I stepped away from the journalism field last August and I dearly miss it. It’s just that I missed my family more. With an 8-year old, an almost two-year old, and one more on the way, I decided it was time to stop missing milestones.

I miss the difference I made. I don’t miss the crummy hours or measly paychecks.

A friend I know recently made the jump from reporting to the PR world. He quickly realized he was making more in three months in public relations as he did in the previous nine months in the newspaper business.

In my new world, it feels like I hear opinions about newspapers constantly. I always find myself defending the industry, for one simple reason: Good newspapers can’t die. They are too important to the lifeblood of the community.

Not all newspapers, however, are good newspapers. A good newspaper reports on stories important to the community. A bad newspaper is printed for the people who create it.

Good newspapers keep citizens alert and informed, while souring papers offer shrinking pages to restless readers.

A good newspaper has the support of the people in its community. Communities are the ultimate producers of any newspaper, as they keep the doors open and the presses rolling as long as they keep advertisers interested. Dollars from ads pay to print the newspaper, and ultimately, pay the writers and producers of the newspapers.

As advertisers dry up, payrolls shrink. When payrolls shrink, writers with experience are ultimately told to do more or find another job. I don’t think publishers realize how easy it is for journalists to find jobs in the fields of public relations and communications. The “get out or get in line” mentality ultimately puts young reporters on important stories, and their inexperience often puts a bad taste in the mouth of the customer.

Newspaper Reader: Remember that writer you trusted? They’re gone, molding their writing talents into another career. The newspaper chose to hire less experienced, and less expensive, writers. It’s a dangerous game.

“For the people.”

These simple words just might save a few newspapers

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