If the 1930s were all about sports journalism in my eyes, the 1940s must have been the best decade for working in the news media in general.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
(By the way, as I go through each decade, you will notice a pattern with my preferences -- the decades will be either the best for my profession, for a certain age or a certain place.)
The number of newspapers was declining in the 1940s, but not so much that most big cities dropped to one daily newspaper. The profession was more respected as ever and still so important.
Radio was in its golden age, and radio news was at its pinnacle. By the end of the decade, television began to grow, offering journalists a chance to work in this brand new medium.
World War II dominated the news in the early to mid 1940s. Though I don't think I would have been brave/committed enough to be a war correspondent, the journalist back home stiil faced an enormous task -- disseminating the massive amount of important news. With the two invasions of Iraq in my lifetime, I voraciuously watched and read the war news and respected the efforts to bring that news to the people. The journalistic effort in the 1940s must have been incredible.
After the war ended, the news didn't. Europe was rebuilding while American was redefining itself. The Cold War began, and Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. And the media didn't skip a beat.
So the best decades for journalism, in my opinion, were decades before I was born. Did I become a journalist 50 years too late? No, because in my 20-plus years in the business, change has been the norm and exciting (despite hard times in newspapers). I would not have switched decades, but it's always fun to wonder "what if?"