On August 2, 2010, I published a post titled, “Closing Time and Final Thoughts on the Future of Journalism.” At that time, I had enough of updating the blog daily and decided to hang my hat up – but not before leaving readers with some of my own thoughts about journalism, a major topic of this blog.
I signed off that post noting of journalism, “We need it for democracy to thrive. . . . Saving journalism is the greatest charge of this generation. It is up to us. While I don’t know what the end result will be, I hope that traditional journalism will thrive . . . .”
While I like the sentiment, that post was premature. Since then, I’ve published dozens of articles ranging from regulatory controls on the Internet to illegal searches of cell phones to freedom of speech. I’ve won an award and have been lucky enough to have some very bright folks offer me their insights on the blog. (I even won a FOIA appeal that reversed a FOIA officer’s holding that LWR did not constitute the “news media” for the purpose of FOIA!)
I started the blog at the beginning of the summer in 2010. I published a new article – with the hope of providing a no-nonsense, but fair point of view when it came to media, law, and technology news. That summer, I would leave my research fellowship at a non-profit every day and go to this quaint coffee shop in downtown Northampton, Massachusetts to research and write after work. I drank a lot of coffee – and I still do.
I’m not quite sure what prompted me to start going to that coffee shop and writing. I had always been interested in media and the following fall would enter law school. I think, in the end, it was just a desire to write and to learn about what I wanted to build my career around. It was the means.
(I was a bit bored too, and it seemed like something fun to do.)
In any event, I have a career now. Fittingly, I’m an attorney focusing on media law. In short, I’ve achieved the ends that I sought out to achieve by writing this blog. The means served their purpose: this blog taught me about media law issues and how to be a better writer.
Of course, I still love to read and write about media law issues. Luckily, I now get to spend my work days doing just that though as a result of having my dream job. By the time I’m home, I don’t have the energy left to do it all over again like I used to for the purposes of this blog. Instead, I like to write about other things, if I write at all.
It’s a bitter pill – saying goodbye to a blog that I have worked on for nearly four years. LWR has been a mainstay of my post-college career and, I think, set me on the course to achieving many of the things that I wanted to achieve after college. It is, in many respects, an idiosyncratic manifestation of the “me” I became after leaving college behind me. But, the time has come to step away from LWR.
Because LWR has focused so much on my main interest, I think it’s appropriate to end with my favorite passage from a U.S. Supreme Court case that touches on that interest: journalism and free speech. It’s a dissent by Justice Harlan in a case where a newspaperman was held in contempt after publishing articles and a cartoon suggesting that justices on the Colorado Supreme Court were not impartial.
In one of the first discussions digging into the meaning of the First Amendment in the Supreme Court, Justice Harlan explained, “It is, I think, impossible to conceive of liberty, as secured by the Constitution against hostile action, whether by the nation or by the states, which does not embrace the right to enjoy free speech and the right to have a free press.” I agree . . .
Matthew L. Schafer