Out of Print

By Teddy Wayne

(NEW YORK) – Newspapers continue to be hit hard by the recession and readers’ migration to online sources.
      “Our industry is in trouble,” said Joseph Walters, editor-in-chief of the New York Daily Times.  “Subscriptions are down, the web isn’t providing enough ad revenue, and we’ve been forced to implement widespread layoffs, from the lowliest interns up to the highest—”
Mr. Walters was cut off by a security detail escorting him from the premises with his possessions in a cardboard box.
       Newspapers are employing various cost-cutting measures, such as curtailing expensed meals, limiting travel, and, on occasion, nt prntng vwls t sv xpnsv nk.
Paragraph indents and proper line spacing are also being phased out (as are closed parentheses and sometimes periods
      Legions of copy editors and fact checkers, who make up something like 6o per sent of newspaper staffs, is expected to laid off. [Can we end a sentence on a prepositional phrase? Is Tina no longer with us? –Ed.]
      One source, who must  remain anonymous for fear of losing his job and also because a certain reporter’s employer could not afford to provide him with a voice recorder, so he couldn’t get his name anyway, but he was around forty and had sort of wavy brown hair, said something longish that was probably despairingly insightful about the situation.
      Other positions that unemployed journalists are turning to include hospital orderlies and tour guides, though competition for these jobs is growing more intense, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to break in—actually, um, these professions do not pay well and people in them report low job satisfaction and weird rashes.  Do not apply for them. And if you’re already in one of these professions, career advisors suggest looking elsewhere.
      Career advising might be a good career, too. I wonder what it pays.
       News articles are trending shorter, to account for reduced attention spans and because, when you calculate it, we’re not paid enough for this thankless job, and fewer words at least means we’re  getting a better per-word rate if you receive a flat fee per article. So there’s that. In fact, right now I’m essentially devaluing myself by writing these words. And so on, ad infinitum, as my labor asymptotically approaches worthlessness, which is kind of what I feel most mornings. I cannot believe I wrote “asymptotically” for three cents.

      Nevertheless, some optimists remain. “Despite Americans’ taste for escapist gossip and videos of babies behaving in adorably incongruous ways, journalism remains an invaluable check and balance against the corruption of government and corporations,” said Joseph Walters,  an unpaid New York Daily Times intern.

Teddy Wayne’s debut novel, “Kapitoil,” will be published by Harper Perennial this April.