I was sitting in the corner office of my underground bunker the other day, twirling my mustache, wondering how I might best dash the nascent dreams of innocents, and it came to me in a flash: get them excited about journalism!
Now that print media is gasping its last, why should I trudge the path towards cultural irrelevance with a bunch of other bitter, middle-aged professionals, when I can bring the children with me?! I could so easily turn unsuspecting young minds on to the thrills of reporting, interviewing, fact-checking, layout design, op-ed writing, and other ossifying, outdated, marketless skills.... by starting up a newspaper!
So last week I re-launched The Paw Print, a student newspaper at my daughter's elementary school. I actually ran the paper a few years ago, but then gave it up for the high-yield, fast-paced world of memoir writing. But at the behest of some other, misguided, newspaper-loving parents, I've resuscitated the rag, so that I may have the pleasure of building up the hopes of children, then watch with sadistic pleasure as they grow up to realize there's no future in it.
And so, my young charges came to our first meeting, completely unaware that they were boarding a sinking ship. Even my announcement that the paper would mostly be an online endeavor with a minimal print run didn't tip them off. The fact that they would be asked to write, rewrite, edit and file, with pretzels as their only compensation didn't discourage them either. The announcement that I, as editor-in-chief, would be moving on to greener pastures once my daughter graduates from the school in June, barely crimped their joie de journalisme.
In fact, my staffers were completely psyched to pitch ideas, write pieces, do roundups, photograph, interview, cartoon, expound, explore and extemporize. After the meeting even more kids showed up wanting jobs, and so as Supreme Editor-in-Chief I have instituted a policy of unlimited hiring. All ideas are good ones at The Paw Print. An examination of home cooking vs. cafeteria food? Great! An exposé on parents who cherry-pick the lost and found for free stuff? It's in! A survey on which American Idol is most popular among third-graders? Why not?
Of course, at four pages per issue, it'll land on doorsteps with a heavier thud than the LA Times. So, that's gonna feel like progress. Plus, this should nicely fill the hole left by LA City Beat. Keeping hope alive, Folks. You can email me here for job applications and I can guarantee you a rate of five pretzels per word.