Wednesday, May 14, 2008

This can't be a good sign

From the DC Sports Bog this morning, news has broken that longtime sports columnist Tony Kornheiser has taken a buyout from the Washington Post, where he was an employee for nearly 30 years.

"All I ever wanted to be was a newspaper writer," he said, which is likely not something that anyone under the age of 30 will ever say again. "This other stuff is great, but I don't care about it," he continued. "In my mind that's what it says on the headstone, it says 'newspaper guy.' "
(via the Bog).

Hey, wait a minute... I'm under the age of 30! What does this mean for my upcoming degree in print journalism? Should I flush it down the toilet?

You see, up to this point my plan was to follow in the footsteps of guys like Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon and write about sports for a living at a reputable newspaper (maybe even a world-renowned paper like the Washington Post). Then, if I became any good, I could become a columnist (like those guys), become rich and famous, live happily ever after and all that jazz.

Clearly though, this is an odd time to become a journalist, what with the declining revenues and increase in people looking to the internet or television to get their news. The largely-held belief that newspapers will be entirely digital in the future is hard to argue against, but 15-20 years ago not a single aspect of any paper was online. About 25 years ago, there was no internet, at least not in the way it exists today. My question is what will become of the internet 25 years from now? Theoretically, there could be some whole other system in place that is completely unforeseen.

So I'm not so sure about this notion that newspapers will no longer exist in a physical form at some point in the future. What exactly it will consist of, though, is anybody's guess.

As for Kornheiser, I've never agreed with everything he's had to say but I always had enormous respect for him. It's not the job of a sports columnist, or any columnist for that matter, to always go along with the popular opinion. You are entitled (and paid) to say whatever the fuck you want, within reason. The reason I've always respected Kornheiser and Wilbon is that they brought their own opinions to the table, passionately defended them and never tried to run from them if they turned out to be completely wrong. It's no coincidence that the two went on to host "Pardon The Interruption" on ESPN; they are two of the best in the business. As other shows like "Around The Horn" later proved, most sports columnists are unbelievable idiots.

Kornheiser will still host his radio show, as well as PTI and will be in the booth for Monday Night Football. Plus, you could see him being fazed out from the Post for the past couple of years, really. With that being said, farewell to one of my biggest sportswriting influences.


  1. Again, like you said, I didn't always agree with him, but he was a dc institution. I think it was talking to you a while back when you made that point about PTI vs around the horn. Until around the horn, I didn't realize how lucky we were. He'll definitely be missed at the post.

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