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Archive for August 12th, 2011

I started my professional journalism career 40 years ago. I don’t recall the exact date I started work, but it was in August and I’m pretty sure the anniversary is sometime this week.

I don’t know what that means, other than that I’m getting old and I’ve seen and survived a lot. But we like round numbers, so I’ll blog some about the changes I’ve seen in journalism and the news business over the past four decades.

I started writing sports part-time for the Evening Sentinel in Shenandoah, Iowa. My boss then, the Sentinel’s young sports editor, was Chuck Offenburger. How the media have changed since I started is illustrated by the fact that Chuck is now an Internet entrepreneur, following a long career as a reporter and beloved columnist for the Des Moines Register. His Offenburger.com website is must reading if you love Iowa. I’m delighted to see that Chuck’s lymphoma is so much in remission that he could ride on Ragbrai this year. I do not understand his love for bikes, but I’m glad to see he’s riding again, and I will always be grateful to him for letting me sneak my foot into the door of the news business. We’re hoping to connect this weekend while I’m in Iowa for a wedding. Update: Offenburger had a great time at lunch Sunday, where our friend Daniel P. Finney took the photo above.

While individual stories ranging from the Iowa caucuses to sexual abuse by priests to girls basketball to an iconic photograph have dominated my attention for stretches of months or years, when you look back from the distance of 40 years, you remember more of the people, the travel and the trends than the particular stories. The trends have been technology, disruption and opportunity. (more…)

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