Monday, October 26, 2009

Move over Magnum?

Maybe I should become a P.I.

You know, a private investigator, like TV’s Jim Rockford or Thomas Magnum. They were hunks in their day, cracking tough cases, righting wrongs and wooing women. (Why can’t I recall a similar-caliber female P.I. series on the networks?)

I mentioned the career shift in jest the other day to a neighbor who had inquired about my job search.

In truth, though, I keep running across the become-a-P.I. theme in news reports (read the transcript of the radio interview or go to about 1:53 on the audio), articles and ads since I joined the ranks of Paper Cuts. (By the way, that often-cited blog, which is the unofficial keeper of newspaper layoffs, now puts the bought-out/downsized tally for journalists in 2009 at more than 14,000 -- up 1,000 since I was laid off in July.)

Of course, the shift from reporter to private eye is logical.

We journalists know how to find information: court documents, DMV records, business filings. If we can dog stories, we can dog people. It’s part of our DNA.

I'm ambivalent about repurposing those skills, though. It's not that the P.I. requirements are daunting; they aren't. I'd still prefer to stay in journalism.

But more and more, I'm finding tales of journalists who decided they had to give up their longtime careers. This one came to my attention over the weekend.

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