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Journalists go from reporting a crime to showing people a good time

March 23, 2011|By TIM ROWLAND
  • Rowland
Rowland

We hear it a lot around here, and you've probably heard it too: Print media is going down the tubes. Newspapers as we now know them will soon be a thing of the past.

Sure, here in the newsroom, we're worried. I think anyone is when the future is uncertain. We try to embrace change, but it still can be frightening, especially when a path we've traveled down so many times must be abandoned for a new course.

I think we all know that careers that have served us so very well in the past may not be around tomorrow, and we will have to adapt to something else. That's why I was so heartened to read this news story out of New Hampshire:

"An award-winning sportswriter has pleaded guilty to running a prostitution operation, saying he needed the extra money to make up for a pay cut because of the downturn in the newspaper business."

Whenever God closes a door, he opens a window.

According to the story, which was written by a professional journalist who in all likelihood will soon be selling crack, Kevin Provencher, 52, a writer for the Manchester Union Leader, was sentenced to 21/2 years in prison and fined $5,000.

All right, I see no further need to dwell on the negative. The point is that all is not lost; there are journalistic skill sets that can be applied to multiple platforms and do not conflict with our basic instincts.

That's good news. The way it is now, journalism is being restructured so that writers have to learn to tap into mechanical operations such as video cameras, networking devices and computers, not to mention moronic pseudo-media outlets like Twitbook. But the reason we became writers in the first place is because we have no skill at using mechanical things. So this is like retraining a mobster to run a bed and breakfast.

With that in mind, I can't help but think Provencher knew what he was doing. Believe me, there's a lot more connection between writers and hookers than there is between writers and streaming video.

His attorney said that his "side business" (love it) was not the product of a criminal mind, but merely a way of putting food on the table in a down economy.

I agree with him. A lot of people do things they normally wouldn't when times are tight. You think about it, there's not a whole lot of difference between running a prostitution ring and, say, selling an old engagement ring on e-Bay.

Prosecutors disagreed, however, saying Provencher was nothing but a "pimp" who demanded half of the women's earnings of $150 for a half-hour or $240 for an hour.

That's a pretty sweet markdown for a full hour, just sayin'.

 However, it was probably a mistake; you know how journalists are with numbers. This might prohibit my entry into this line of work — I forgot there was bookkeeping involved. So I'd have to line up call girls who could not only show a sailor a good time, but were also proficient in math. So she's going to want to keep more than 50 percent.

Well, it was a nice thought. If nothing else it could be a good bargaining chip with the boss — give me a raise, or I'm going to start holding up liquor stores.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant at www.herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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