Saturday, January 19, 2008

From Gawker, of All Places: Before My Time, Of Course

Old school odes

To The Golden Age Of The Press

Finaloldschool Things we miss about old-timey journalism: bourbon in every desk drawer, the sound of 400 Underwoods clacking away at the same time, teletype rolls cascading out into the hallway and the undivided attention of the American public. Things we don't miss? Alcoholic colleagues (Balk aside), carbon copy paper, the glass ceiling and mini-fridge-sized tape recorders. Would we go back to the golden age of newspapers, the days of afternoon editions, hearty circulation, fat expense accounts and the magic of the rewrite desk? Oh, probably, but we'd like to take our iPhones, if that's cool. With that, we announce the beginning of Old School Odes, in which we remember The Press The Way It Was.

For instance! Once upon a time in a faraway dead place called Life magazine in the 1940s, edit meetings were, well, much the way they are now. Dull meandering affairs where not a damn thing got done. One day, a young journalist named Scott Levitt, trapped in such a time-sucking summit, spoke up from the end of the table. "I have a report to make," he said. Then he pulled out a pistol and shot it into the ceiling. Corny, but effective, and of course, this being The Way It Was, everyone laughed.

At the risk of reinforcing the average j-schooler's distorted image of his future, we're inviting your own Old School Odes, which we'll post each Friday, because that is the day when we find ourselves wishing we were working next to Cary Grant instead of our server room, plucky though it is. We await your nostalgia.

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