There's a question I get asked a lot by friends, colleagues and audience members at conferences. There are variations, but they all go something like, "How do you find time to do everything that you do?"
I usually just answer with something like, "I never sleep" or "I don't know. I've always done a dozen things at once."
"Sure," I answered. "Of course. How can I help?"
His question was straightforward and deliberate. "What's really going on at newspapers across the country?"
I knew it wouldn't be a quick answer. I had been standing for two hours and there were a couple of chairs in the corner of the room, near the door. I suggested this was a conversation that required sitting.
As I began to answer his question, the area began to fill. Soon, there were a dozen or more publishers, editors and others standing in a semicircle, intently listening in on the conversation. I appreciated their interest. It's a bit humbling to know people sincerely care what I think about anything.
It's funny how time can change expectations. It didn't take long to realize print wasn't going away, at least not as quickly as we anticipated back in those heady days. It was tempting to ignore the facts and move full-steam ahead into the digital era, leaving print behind. Most of the folks I know who took that approach aren't in the news business any more.