The US Economy and workplace were changed forever, as a result of the Great Recession, according to a recent poll taken by the John H. Center of Workforce Development at Rutgers.
Change and the pace of change are facts of life that must always be factored in to every institution. No one or anything is immune to change. The key is recognizing and accepting the simple fact that we must all adapt to change and that you do not allow yourself or your institution to remain stagnant or allow negativity to pull you down.
In this recent survey only 16 percent thought employment and opportunities will be better for the next generation. That compared with 56 percent who thought so in a July 1999 survey. One-third of the respondents said their standards of living were unscathed by the recent recession. Another one-third said they had been temporarily “troubled” or “set back” by the economic downturn. The rest characterized their situations as permanently “devastated” or “downsized.”
When asked to check words and phrases that described the “typical American worker,” a whopping 70 percent checked “not secure in their jobs,” and 68 percent checked “highly stressed.” The phrases checked next most often were “takes pride in work” by 45 percent and “productive” by 43 percent. People tend to be easily swayed by popular opinion and that’s not always the best especially when the focus is trending negative.
It’s far to easy when the going is tough to allow negativity to alter your attitude. As an example, from a community newspaper workforce perspective, our institution has been undergoing great change from the discussions that newspapers are a dying institution. Let me assure you newspapers are no more dying than the trees which will shortly start losing their leaves, immediately after their bright colors light up the region.
One thing that may give way is the name we’ve applied to the method of collecting and distributing valuable information. Just like the olde towne crier from years gone by, putting the news on a sheet of paper is nothing more than a period in time, universal method of mass distribution. The printing press revolutionized the world when Gutenberg’s invention was realized in 1445. It forever changed the lives of people around the globe when people no longer had to hand copy words and illustrations onto parchment. So valuable was his invention that the term “press” has been used for centuries to represent the gathering and distribution of news.
Let’s face we take great comfortable with long standing methods that have proven themselves over time. Perhaps that is why unlike many other institutions that are undergoing change everyday few have stood the test of time like the printing press.
Many are quick to proclaim the internet as the new replacement for the printing press and it certainly has made an impact in the world, but like so many creations that have come along through the centuries it has yet to stand the test of time, nor as it proven itself to be a bullet proof method.
Consider this, a town where nearly everyone wanted to be the olde towne crier. It becomes nearly impossible to determine whose variation of the news and true facts one can depend on. The result is an imperfect system that loses creditability and its value becomes suspect. Add to that the purposeful distortion of information and you leave the masses with uncertainty. With uncertainty comes a lack of attention and that is where we find ourselves today with so much information, much of it conflicting.
More and more many people find the news distorted and an unreliable method of basing their opinions upon, so it gets ignored until something more reliable comes around and that is where we seem to be headed today. But sadly, as we race into a tumultuous future, we find ourselves without a proven, reliable method for how we receive our news. In some cases split between accepting a version that is agenda driven or for many who have simply chosen to ignore the babble coming from too many varied sources. None of those choices are good for a shrinking world in need of accurate information.
The ultimate solution will evolve over time. We’ll see many variations and perhaps technology will become so advanced we may never again see an invention like the printing press have such a long reign that the method becomes that universal standard.
Only time will tell. Until then we intend to keep our presses running, expand our distribution, look for and try new methods of disseminating the news across various platforms. While some newspapers are allowing the whispers of imminent demise and their own lack of commitment to their trade affect their operations, we still believe our best days are just ahead. This same approach is the only remedy for the American Workforce.
Our community newspapers continue to show positive signs of growth after a few years of economic turbulence. Our staff has several new products on the horizon for the fall creating great excitement. Our readership and receivership surveys continue to show strong customer and reader usage into the 80 percent level and as for you and I, well I’m still crafting columns and you’re still here reading.
So let’s not lose faith in the olde towne newspaper just yet, nor the resiliency of the American Workforce.
Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.