Tuesday, February 23, 2010


If I spend too much time on this entry telling you about the tenuous future of newspapers, I would be wasting your time. You all know that newspaper circulation is down and young people aren't in the habit of turning pages between sips of morning coffee.

Since my salary comes from being a sports reporter, the viability of the industry is of great consequence to me. Thus, I will never stop trying to promote newspapers, whether it's on the deck of a sinking ship or not. If it is sinking, I'm too set in ways to do anything but go down with the ship.

Throughout my time in the business, I have always availed myself to youngsters showing an interest in our craft. It has turned up some interesting twists and turns that have helped the papers I've worked and assisted young people in shaping the foundation of their professional lives.

I like to tell the high school athletic directors I know to keep an eye out for talent -- a devoted interest in sports and a love for expression through writing. A number of years ago, former Rocky Hill High AD Brian Fell told me of such a young man. The discussion cleared a path for my learned colleague Ryan Pipke joining the fold, first as a part-timer, then as a full-time writer and now as assistant sports editor.

About the same time, I was asked by golf coach/student newspaper advisor Bob Francini to speak to a group of aspiring journalists at New Britain High. Among them was a sports-loving young man with a flair for said expression named Ryan Cote.

Cote eventually became a part-time writer for the Herald, a position he held for the most part to augment our comprehensive coverage of local high school football.He did a nice job but ultimately determined that a lifetime as a newspaper sports reporter was not what he wanted. He opted to get his teaching certificate and is teaching part time at his alma mater.

A segment of life came full-circle Tuesday morning when I made a presentation to HIS class. As always, I found some of the youngsters bright-eyed and interested while others doodled and gazed into space, but whether the seeds sprout remains to be seen. As always, I found the experience to be personally fulfilling because the youngsters keep me feeling as young as this tired old 57-year-old body allows.

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