My journalism career began in the day of the fax machines and the police scanner. They were my best friends. Both had the ability to either keep me busy or, by their silence, make my publisher wonder why he was paying his new college graduate two-hundred bucks a week.
Summertime at one small newspaper had the ability to keep me hopping as I chased fire fighters all over the national forest.
At another small paper I recall the editor angrily threatening a local politician with a bill for the paper and ink it took to print the 8-12 feet of faxes he sent every night that rolled out of our tiny fax machine.
I think the conversation also threatened to bill him for the price of a new fax machine, which was not industrial strength.
Though fax numbers still exist on business cards I often wonder if unicorns are more prevalent these days. I can’t remember when I last had to fax something, or received one for that matter.
Technology is different now. No longer do companies send reams of fax paper that is deposited directly in the trash bin. Now we’re merely “carpet bombed” from within our email inbox.
An account executive with a public relations firm I’ve dealt with lamented this too, though she came from a slightly different perspective – as most PR people do. Her blog was couched as an advice column to others in the PR industry, recommending they do a little homework before hitting “Send.”
Of the more notable examples I’ve seen lately to illustrate her point included yet another offer for me to interview a book author I never heard of, for a title far removed from production agriculture.
The other was the announcement that “wedding season” is once again upon us. One might suspect a bride’s magazine would be a better venue than an agricultural trade journal for the 10 things every bride must have before scoring her 3-carat rock at the end of the aisle.
Technology is a good thing; I particularly like Twitter, which is a valuable means to reach me quickly with useful information. Still, technology requires someone with common sense to make it useful and relevant, which remains my personal goal with the stories I report.