The Wire Creator Gives Advice to Journalists

David Simon sees news sites charging for content and tells young journos to stick to a beat.

By and + More

By Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers

Attention, young reporters: The Wire creator and former journo David Simon has some advice for you. Stay put. "I managed to not get promoted," says Simon, touting his 13 years covering cops for the Sun in Baltimore as a remarkable skill he didn't know he had. "I started on the police beat, I ended on the police beat, and in some perverse way, I parlayed the police beat into something in a completely different medium." Simon knew his stuff so well that he was able to pen books and come up with the NBC series Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire on HBO from his reporting experiences in Baltimore. And now that he's established himself in TV, he's working on another HBO show, Treme, on post-Katrina New Orleans. It will most likely debut in 2010.

Simon, who took a buyout from the Sun years ago, has never been known to sugarcoat much when he muses about his former profession, and today's appearance at the National Press Club was no different. On blogging, he says: "I don't believe in unprofessional journalism." He contends that reporters should be paid professionals and that real reporting should never be considered a hobby. And he thinks that the bigger newspapers like the Washington Post and the New York Times will start charging for Web content within the year—and that's a good thing. "With every day we delay, another 30 reporters are bought out somewhere or laid off," he warns. "With every day we delay, it brings us closer to the abyss." But for his hometown paper, the Sun, it sounds like that's a lost cause. He gets the New York Times delivered instead. "It still has some news in it, so what are you going to do?" Simon shrugs.

Check out our gallery of Whispers political cartoons.

Follow Paul and Nikki on Twitter.

Read more Washington Whispers.