Where does a journalist go?

It was sixth grade. I was an honor student and had the privilege of delivering the morning announcements. I had to stand on a milk crate to reach the silver microphone that was perched atop the filing cabinet in the front office.
I cleared my throat, took a deep breath and said, “Good morning, my name is Emeri O’Brien” — stressing every syllable in my name to make sure that everyone knew who was giving them the news of the day. It was then that I knew I wanted to be a journalist.
Now as a 30-year-old reporter-turned-copy editor, I fear that my voice will be muted. As newspaper folks, we are witnessing the Great journalistic Depression.
Talks of buyouts and layoffs are forcing many of us to rethink our careers. What do you do when the job that you love is on the verge of being extinct? Do you settle for a public relations position? Do you flee to academia? Or, do you just keep up the good fight?
It seems the phrase, “Let them eat cake,” is haunting newsrooms across America. Cake is the sign of another colleague that has been forced out. We clap, smile and fight back tears as we watch years of experience exit stage left.
Those of us who are fairly new in the game just try to fly under the radar and hope that no cakes come our way. We can find other jobs. However, I, like many of my colleagues, have worked so hard to get THIS gig.
We have paid our dues.We have worked for peanuts at small newspapers in country towns to get to the big leagues. It’s what we have gone into debt for. It’s what we have given up weekends and holidays for. It’s the reason that we are proud to call ourselves journalists. It’s our passion.
We crave the newsroom on election night. And, yes, we order pizza and sandwiches when a crisis happens- because God forbid one should have to take a lunch break in the middle of “the big story.” So how do you say goodbye to your passion? Your livelihood?
You don’t.
You just pray to God that the tide changes and that the next 1A story is not about the death of newspapers.Emeri O’Brian is an associate subject editor (copy editor) at the Chicago Tribune. Emeri graduated from GSU in Mass Comm.