You won’t find this conversation in the Old Testament, but it’s not hard to imagine it taking place.
Adam: “Eve, this younger generation just doesn’t have it all together. They don’t work as hard as we did, their values aren’t the same as ours, they don’t produce as much as we produced.
“In short, they don’t do it the way we used to. I don’t know what’s going to happen when their generation takes over.”
Eve: “Yes, Dear, I think you’re onto something. They’re only the second generation on the face of the earth, and already they don’t do things the way we’ve always done them. Now here, have a taste of a new recipe I’ve created. I call it ‘applesauce.’ ”
My point is not to pick on Adam and Eve, or on Cain and Abel, but to suggest that complaints about the younger generation probably go back for as long as there have been younger generations to complain about.
Certainly journalism is no exception.
Young reporters, and young editors, and young publishers don’t do things the way “my generation” did, and if some of their ways of doing things are actually better than ours, you’re not likely to hear it admitted by their forebears.
Among the exceptions is my friend Jeff Roslow.
As editor of The Polk County Democrat and other papers once published by Frisbie Publishing Co., he shared the same values and commitment to community journalism that I learned from my father, and he from his father, and so on back four generations.
For one thing, Jeff is probably the hardest working journalist I’ve known who didn’t own the newspaper. There’s something about entrepreneurship that tends to make the workweek a little longer than it is for other employees, but not for Jeff.
It’s not easy to put down roots in a new community after 25 or so years working in the other end of the state, but Jeff made the transition and became a part of Bartow, his newly-adopted home.
He had high expectations for the reporters he trained and supervised over his three-decade career in journalism, but he had even higher expectations for himself.
He accepted long hours, night work, and weekend news coverage as a part of the job, not as a burden of it.
He was of the Jewish faith, and I tried to remember to wish him a Happy Rosh Hashanah and a Happy Yom Kippur each year, never sure if that was a correct salutation but determined to give it my best shot.
When I asked him for an in depth explanation of the significance of these two Jewish high holidays, his eyes glazed over sort of the way we Anglicans do when asked to explain the Holy Trinity.
Jeff was known almost as much for his sense of humor as for his journalistic skills.
Even the untimely death of his wife, Christine, a year or so ago didn’t destroy his positive outlook on life.
When I visited him in the hospital in mid-September, he said he was determined to lose some weight and to quit smoking, and to spend more time with his family.
Jeff died on Oct. 6 after suffering a major heart attack while appearing to recover from surgery.
He is survived by his three children, and by his adopted community, where in spite of shrinking budgets and shifting paradigms, he believed in newspapering “the way we used to do it.”
(S. L. Frisbie is retired. It was not until Jeff’s death at the age of 55 that he realized that Jeff was young enough to be his son.)