Independent Media Production Professional

Independent Media Production Professional is how the person, who was called the editor, but who I don’t even know how to describe now, describes himself on the social media site through which he contacted me to ask a favor.

A friend of mine mentioned it made her sad to see that title. It sounded, she said, like something a laid off affiliate tv reporter with no skills would use.

Back when I knew him, he presided over the last stages of the descent of the newspaper I worked for  into something else. Before he came to our newspaper he already had presided over the demise of a literary style magazine section of another newspaper, but the credential he carried with him was the “literary style magazine section” rather than the demise part of what he had done there. This, at a newspaper that was always trying to win a Pulitzer for one heroic attempt or another to uncover the Truth about things.

He was seen as a prestigious character, having come from a bigger newspaper, never mind that he had brought it down, never mind that he had been fired. He had credentials. And he used them, to bullshit his way to his goal of keeping his knees under his desk out our newspaper, until his desk was the last thing standing there. He didn’t quite make it. They let him stay, doing nothing, months after he had stopped serving any even pretend function, until he was Medicare eligible, and then he was all but carried out the door.

Along with half the newspaper’s staff I was gone by then, having divined that he was lying when he said “when this stops being a newspaper, I’ll be gawun, cuz ah’m not interested in workin’ for anythin’ else.” He talked like that, the exaggerated accent his proud reminder that he got through Old Miss on a golf scholarship and was from the land of Faulkner. Or something like that.

I’m not even sure that was true; he never let the truth get in the way of a cliche. He was a bad writer, a bad editor and a bad manager. We all went along with it out of Stockholm syndrome, or because we thought we had no choice.

I found him so contemptible by the time I left that I didn’t even bother to hold a grudge against him for what he had done to our paper, to journalism and to many of our careers.

And although it may sound like I do now, I’m madder at a system, a profession whose job it was to tell the truth, for letting an Ole Miss golf scholarship recipient, or someone who at least said he was, who never met a meaningless word he didn’t take as his own take a town’s newspaper of record down. I am at a loss to see how independent media professionals can help us now.


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