Just got lucky

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I’m a lucky guy. Really. Sometimes I just sit and wonder at all the benefits I’ve had in this life. I was thinking about those gifts on the plane as I flew back from Toronto, Canada, where I attended the annual convention of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.

The conference was rather less attended than ones I’ve been to in the past. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. First, many newspapers, particularly the older ones, are suffering from the impacts of the internet on advertising revenues, especially the loss of classifieds, but also display advertising. (We never had very much classified advertising.) Second, the conference was in another country, so there were people who weren’t prepared with a passport. Third, I think that many alt-newspapers consolidated personnel over the last few years.

But, man oh man, I felt like a midget in the company of giants. The editors of the Village Voice and the Bay Guardian were there and accessible. I heard from many journalists who are still doing the great work of years past. I spoke to legendary publishers from across this country. Designers, sales people, internet gurus—the best of the best were there, serious but fun-loving people who are still, day by day, week by week, filled with passion for what we do.

I came away with ideas on how to improve this paper and a better understanding of some of the forces that are causing change but inspiring new heights among the alternative media.

I picked up food poisoning that made sessions a bit challenging (although I didn’t miss a one), but there were nightly mixers. This was certainly not all work and no play. But as I sit here, jet-lagged like crazy on Monday morning, I’m excited to go to work, reinvigorated for another year for the weekly slog. I work for a company that cares enough about its staff and newspaper that they’ll send me across the continent. And if that’s not lucky, I don’t know what is.