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100 articles – ‘Did it ever occur to you’

A blog post about a journalist who decided to leave the newspaper business after nearly four decades has been selected by Jean Kemshal-Bell for for inclusion in upstart's '100 articles' that every journalist should read about journalism list.

‘Did it ever occur to you that even the most deathless love could wear itself out?’ Rhett Butler from Gone with the Windby Mimi Johnson

Mimi Johnson’s personal essay, which was posted on her blog in February 2010,  is a terribly grim yet beautiful love story.  Discussing the decision of her husband Steve Buttry, to quit the newspaper business after 38 years, Johnson recounts his persevering devotion to an industry that never loved him back.

Acknowledging that she was not the only love in her husband’s life, Johnson stresses that even though it is a difficult time for the media now, it has never been an easy business to be in. There has always been long hours, unpaid work, closures and layoffs.

Johnson describes an industry in despair, one not willing to let go of the past and embrace the future, and in the process betraying the people who love it the most.

But this is not a depressing tale. As future journalists we know the industry we are getting into yet we rarely hear affirmation that our dedication might last. We can take comfort in her husband’s untiring love for the media despite his demanding career, and hope that after each gruelling beat, unpaid hour and unrewarded effort that we, too, will still think it’s all worth it.

Jean Kemshal-Bell is an Honours Journalism student at La Trobe University.

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