Jim Mathews statement.

SCREWLOOSE

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This is the first week in over 40 years that I will not be doing a fishing report and an outdoor column for a single newspaper in Southern California. In 1980, not long after my Mom passed away, I quit my full-time reporting job at The Sun newspaper and started my career as a self-employed, freelance reporter/columnist.

When the editor of The Sun asked me to keep doing the outdoor package at the newspaper, that paper became my first client in what was to become a mini-syndicated newspaper package across the region. There were 20 different newspapers that took that package over the ensuing 40 years, including most of the biggest papers in the region (like the Los Angeles Time and Orange County Register). During this period, I joked that I was the most-read, least-known outdoor writer in the country. At one point, I figured the circulation of all newspaper using the package was over 2 million with a readership of something like 5 million.

But the newspaper business has been drying up for the past decade (if not longer) and newspaper subscribers to the service began to fall away. I went from spending four to five days a week on the package to three, then two, then one, shrinking the size of the package and fishing report. By this year, it has dwindled to just five smaller newspapers. When one of those was doing another round of belt-tightening, I was down to four papers. I decided it just wasn't worth the time to keep doing the package and pulled the plug.

“It is certainly not retirement. I still have way too many irons in the fire to call it that, but it is a milestone and the end of an era. I had the opportunity to work in newspapers toward the end of period when they could really be called The Fourth Estate, when clear, concise, fair reporting of news meant something. It was a vital and exciting business in those days. I will miss it. And yes, I occasionally did my writing in the outdoors using an old Royal typewriter I lugged around.”
 

Ducky's Dad

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I've been noticing far too many milestones lately, and I don't like it one bit. So, what will you be doing?
 
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