Why this column has been so quiet

Because, like a lot of things in this business, it's shutting down. But this isn't a sad story. These are exciting times.

Published April 15, 2009 11:00AM (EDT)

Several readers, at least one and a half of you, have noticed the lack of writing in this space lately and asked after me.

Thanks. I'm fine.

I have decided to end this column. I'd hoped to write about one of my favorite events, the first two days of the NCAA Tournament, publish an interview with Allen Barra about his Yogi Berra bio, then quietly fade away, happy on my ice floe. But I guess it's not going to happen that way. You're an inquisitive bunch.

I wanted to be quiet about it because while I enjoyed and appreciated the lovefest that followed my announcement late last year that this column would be switching from daily to part-time, I don't need another one and didn't want to look like I was fishing for one.

I'm also not in need of condolences over my career. As I mentioned last fall, Salon asked me in the wake of the financial crash to switch gears and take on some editing duties while continuing to write the column whenever I could. I said I'd try that, though I didn't think I'd like the column-writing part of it.

The daily format, with several updates a day, was this column's skeleton, something without which I believed it wouldn't thrive. I think I was right.

Meanwhile we here at Salon have been, like our colleagues everywhere, trying to figure out the future of this racket and how we fit into it. What is journalism going to look like a year from now, two years, five years, as the newspaper industry collapses, the technology continues to evolve and new business models are developed?

I've been asked to help try to figure all that stuff out for Salon. It's fascinating and exciting. While some of you are picturing me chained to a desk, slogging through copy, bitterly recalling my glory days as a columnist, I've been over here in what feels like the hippest seminar in grad school: big ideas, great conversation and no tests or grades.

Just, you know, we all lose our jobs if we don't get it right. And also, the chains aren't so uncomfortable.

Seriously, though, these are exciting times. I have a lot of friends in the newspaper business and to them I think these days feel apocalyptic. But, while my eyes are wide open about all the jobs that are being lost and I'm sensitive to the suffering of good people in my line of work, these days are feeling to me like a thrilling time of new beginnings and possibilities. I can't wait to see how it all turns out, even if it turns out that there won't be a place for me in the new world.

But I think there will be. And I haven't retired as a writer. You'll see my byline pop up in Salon from time to time and I have a few other writing projects I'm percolating on that you'll hear about if you're interested and you have a rudimentary ability to find people on the Web who want you to find them.

Until then, thanks for reading, and feel free to send me any brilliant Web 3.0 ideas you have lying around.

By King Kaufman

King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

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