Once upon a time, I was a newspaper major. Eventually I realized I didn’t have much talent or nerve for picking up the phone and cold-calling people. And that wasn’t a skill being taught at the particular college I attended (you were supposed to have it already, before you decided on that kind of career). Fortunately, I had the presence of mind after my sophomore year to understand that a newspaper career was not going to be possible for me. I just wasn’t going to be very good at it — and in any case, my point of view probably would never have been a good fit for the Syracuse community at large (or possibly, anywhere else!)
But although I understand that, I still don’t grasp the process by which new blood gets into journalism locally. I know an excellent local writer who has blogged for several years on environmental subjects; he has a clear, engaging style and characteristic focus that would be a really good fit to the greater Syracuse community. If I was running things (and if newspapers were still making enough money) I would do whatever it took to get this person on board as an occasional paid columnist. But we don’t live in that kind of expansive era any more — newspapers these days have to be concerned with collecting content, and not with developing a farm team.