What we mean when we say we miss newsrooms

Meredith Cummings
5 min readMar 3, 2023

If my former newsrooms were people I would be attending many funerals.

My past lives fall around me. My first journalism job was at The Birmingham News in Alabama, which recently stopped printing. So did other papers in my home state, The Mobile Press Register and the Huntsville Times. The Tuscaloosa News, where I worked when my daughter was born, said goodbye to its building and my former co-workers gathered at the wake. Overall, 2,500 newspapers in the United States have closed since 2005. The country will lose one-third of its newspapers by 2025.

The final editions of The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times and The Mobile Press Register

It was in those buildings I looked for salvation in the form of a career I could love. I found that and friendship and love and trial by fire. I also learned not to use cliches like “trial by fire.”

I’m not sad about these changes but I miss those newsrooms. Buildings fall. People grow up. Technology changes. Isn’t that how we know we are alive?

I tell journalists who speak to my university classes not to look back.

“Students don’t care what we used to do,” I remind them. “They are moving forward. Do not — do not — talk about how things used to be.”

I put on my stern professor face. I don’t blink.

--

--

Meredith Cummings

Freelance journalist, Teaching Assistant Journalism Professor at Lehigh University, Essayist, Book reviewer