Cynicism is killing what’s left of the industry

I honestly think the headline says it all. How is it that the newspaper industry is going to make a rebound if anyone and everyone involved in the process believes the worst, expects the worst and sees the worst — whether real or imagined?

I guess I’m writing this time out of experience rather than out of a report in a newspaper recently or some trade magazine. Yes, I’ve taken up reading the Newspaper Deathwatch blog, but I’m not ready to absolve my career goals and go gently into the quiet night, and I don’t think my peers in the journalism industry want to either.

There is a circle of negativity that has arisen due to the estimated 14,000 jobs lost in 2008 in newspapers. These are bitter times and talks of transition and new journalism and new media pour salt in the wounds of older journalists forced out, bought out and just laid off.

(Let me add that there are a lot of young journalists that have left the business too. Sadly, they are mostly overlooked.)

In the middle of this negative backbite, cynicism has taken the place of enthusiasm and love of craft.

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines cynicism as the state of being captious or peevish. Being “contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives.”

With every layoff, every position unfilled and every budgetary cutback, I still see good things for this industry. Yes, it will be a leaner industry, but it will be an industry forced into efficiency it has never seen. Yes, it will be a difficult transition period for newspaper companies to grapple with how to make money off of the internet, but these times will force their hands to find solutions rather than patchwork.

I had seven 2009 resolutions. The only one of importance here is that I will be more positive than I’ve ever been. I will take every negative, and search for a positive. I will not let cynicism take hold of me. Cynicism may have a death grip on my colleagues, but it has no bearing on me and my future.