I should have known this a month and a half ago but when you take things for granted, it’s over looked. Ana Menendez left the Miami Herald.
I was, and continue to be, in awe of her. The daughter of exiles, she has traveled the world and has worked in the one newspaper that I hoped I would end up at one day—The Miami Herald.
She’s a novelist and a graduate of the NYU writing program. She was the example I looked up to. You can do it. You can be a journalist and write novels. You can be a columnist. It is possible.
But as the newspaper industry’s turmoil becomes a unpredictable tornado of craziness, she, and other women like her (Mary Sanchez, my Aunt Bobbi, etc) were my silver linings. They were the role models for me.
Now that I could be in the winter of my career, where are my role models? How are they coping with the foolishness of crowned jokers? They aren’t. They are trying to stay a float until the exit plan comes to fruition. Hope is gone and it feels a bit like working on the Titanic.
I miss Ana and the promise to people like her and like me that our voices and experiences are part of the tapestry. I miss the wonder and excitement for the future, how I was going to be a bad ass reporter and that I could have my pick of any type of job I wanted, local editor, columnist, and executive editor. Gone are the hopes that one day I would be able to call the shots and make decisions about what is run on the paper. Now, I’m just hoping to have a job day to day while I think of something else. And I hope that something else is something wonderful. I can’t settle for less than that.
Journalism isn’t for the faint of heart, it takes a certain type of resolve to succeed. Most people think they have it. But few actually have it. The stomach must be strong as should be the will and the mind. But I have weakened. Weakened terribly. Ana’s departure is another blow.
There are still some of us left. And out of those, I know a handful will still have jobs in this industry in three years. The ones that won’t will do something else that’s probably not as interesting but will most likely be less stressful.
And we will all suffer from it just like I am suffering from Ana’s departure.