My Register Experience

Helen Thomas: What has changed in the digital press corps

Posted in Preparation Week by Michael Bugeja on November 5, 2009

helenthomasIn preparing the post, “Deadline Every Login,” I also received a reply from my former colleague and role model at United Press International, Helen Thomas.

She wrote in the staccato of the teletype machine, in bursts that read like poetry–so much so, that I reprint her message as a “found poem” (all I did was cast her e-mail into lines and stanzas) in response to my question about what has changed in the digital press corps.


The changes are immense, no noise of clicking
teletypes and typewriters, obsolete technology,
little real editing unfortunately, instantaneous
communication and more superficiality,

competition based on personality
instead of content in depth, insecurity
about where newspapers are headed,
money a big factor in all things

and reduction in size of papers, stories
and number of days a paper publishes even
in a big city, dwindling readership, advertising,
dominance of entertainment, Dance with the Stars!,

talk show hosts peddling disinformation,
lack of transparency by even Obama
administration, blocking torture photos,
calling reporters the night before

presidential news conferences to tell them
they will be called on, hand picked reporters
and only five news conferences so far
at the White House under O. administration:

Hope all is not lost in our great business.


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