Sponsored by Oregon Business

Read it and don’t weep

| Print |  Email
Archives - February 2009
Sunday, February 01, 2009
My family landed on the Space Coast of Florida in 1968, bewildered Rust Belt astronauts trying to make their way. We were Ohio transplants who had followed the sun and the promise of renewal like so many fleeing the cold and dreary Midwest. Dad was a salesman, so within weeks he had hatched the idea for a (sometimes) weekly newspaper called the Beach Bulletin.

The BB was a shoestring family operation: Dad was the publisher, sold the advertising and wrote the stories; my sister and I helped set the type and create the pages; all five kids delivered the paper; and Mom worked a restaurant job to actually bring in some money. The misery of working for my father was compounded by having to deliver the paper on foot under the hot Florida sun on weekends. With that kind of delivery system, our circulation was only about 1,000 papers (and I’m glad we didn’t have to audit the figures). Add in the fact that high school friends were dotted all along my route, and you’ve got the perfect teenage nightmare, ink stained and wretched.

So of course I became a journalist and the joke about ink in my blood became part of family lore. When I graduated in 1977 from the University of South Florida, newspapers were one of the most exciting worlds you could enter. Post-Watergate, it was full of idealists wanting to uncover corruption and change the world. That glamour took a while in coming. I started out working for five years at a string of tiny Florida papers, covering fish fries, house fires, traffic accidents, the police blotter, the school board, county courts. I wrote features about local beauty queens and record-breaking tarpon. Those little papers were filled with the ordinary stuff of life and in the mundane there was always magnificence. The teacher who saved a life through poetry or the cop who saved one “just doing my job.”

s_Robin Robin Doussard, Editor
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

People would call me or just stop by the newsroom with all sorts of story ideas and when I would reject one as too small or uninteresting, my news editor would deliver the cruel but honest truth: There are no boring stories, only boring writers. Still, I figured when I moved on to a big daily, there would be no end to exciting stories involving high-level corruption and interviews with big celebrities.

That part turned out to be true, but something was also lost. My big papers didn’t care so much about fish fries or local beauty queens. I didn’t get as many phone calls from people with story tips, and they didn’t just stop by anymore. I can’t blame them, what with the security guard and the metal detector in the lobbies. But what I learned at the small papers — that everyone has a story of importance and beauty despite its size — stayed with me. I like to think that even the BB, which had a short but glorious run of six years, also left its mark.

When I decamped the newspaper business five years ago, the industry wasn’t in great shape. As our story on page 26 details, it’s now in a freefall, but small papers still have a chance. I’m glad about that. When there’s no outlet for the story about a giant tarpon or twin midget brothers with a walk-in closet and 1,000 pairs of shoes inside, the world will be a greatly diminished place.


More Articles

The Love Boat

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Vigor’s values don’t stop at truth. Walk into a company office, conference room or on any shipyard site and you’ll most likely see a poster inscribed with the words “Truth. Responsibility. Evolution. Love.” Otherwise known as TREL, Vigor’s culture code and the prominence it is accorded can be a bit surprising to the unsuspecting shipyard visitor.



Linda Baker
Thursday, November 12, 2015
111215-taxilindaBY LINDA BAKER

Raye Miles, a 17-year taxi industry veteran, lacked the foresight to anticipate the single biggest trend in the cab business: breaking the law.


5 facts about the teaching profession in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, October 08, 2015

Based on several metrics, Oregon has one of the lowest performing K-12 education systems in the country. Teacher compensation is part of the problem.


Back in Black

Guest Blog
Friday, November 20, 2015

It’s been a volatile year in equities and heading into the holiday season, it doesn’t look like these market extremes will dissipate.


The High Road

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

As CEO and owner of five different cannabis-related businesses generating a total net revenue of $2 million, Alex Rogers could sit back and ride the lucrative wave of Oregon’s burgeoning pot industry.


Have a baby and keep a job? It won’t be easy in Portland

The Latest
Friday, October 02, 2015
100115kimblogthumbBY KIM MOORE

Our intrepid (and expecting) research editor finds the child care search involves long waiting lists, costly fees and no certainty of securing a place before she goes back to work.


Insurance pulse: health care and Export-Import banks

Linda Baker
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
111715-healthcarelindathumbBY LINDA BAKER

The past month has been marked by upheaval in the health insurance markets. I also check in on clients of the Export-Import bank, a federal credit agency that subsidizes, and insures, foreign exports.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02