From newspaper reporter to software developer, Kropog to blog council coverage as hobby
Watching the evolution of the Internet and this new digital age from the late 1990s forward, I had been hoping and rooting for small-town newspapers somehow to transform their traditional print advertisers into digital based revenue.
Unfortunately, several factors prevented this from happening in time to save the small-town paper as we knew it.
The age of the Internet and digital publishing has squeezed the local mom-and-pop newspaper practically out of existence. Those that have survived have gone from publishing daily, down to bi-weekly, and even just weekly in many cases. It’s the end of an era, and it’s sad to see.
Newspapers knew the future was digital and a printed product would eventually go away, but they were on a runaway train headed off a cliff. I know, because I was there.
My name is William “Bill” Kropog. I started out my professional career in the late 1980s as a journalist, working as a reporter for the St. Tammany News-Banner and later as the managing editor of The Bogalusa Daily News. Mandeville City Hall was one of my original beats. I also enjoyed a stint covering the New Orleans Saints.
When the Internet exploded in the late 1990s, I saw my chance. By then I had had enough of scraping by on a meager reporter and editor’s salary. No newspaper reporter ever said they “did it for the money.”
You did it because it was exciting to be the first on the scene, the first to tell the story, and hopefully to tell it well.
I had been a computer hobbyist in the early 1980s and learned programming skills on machines like the Atari 800XL and Commodore 64. I wrote programs in “Basic” language. Thanks to my high school trigonometry class, I once wrote a routine that could rotate a cube in 3D space. Don’t be impressed. It sounds a lot harder than it really is.
I’ve been very blessed to be one of those lucky individuals who can honestly say he was in the right place at the right time. Thanks to a combination of buying just about every programming book and magazine I could find and hearing about job opportunities on the Southshore where companies were hiring anyone they could find who knew how to write code, my career as a programmer took off.
I managed to do a little writing — not computer code — here and there over the years to keep my skills intact and fulfill that desire to tell a story. I once had three articles published in a print magazine produced by Microsoft called “Interactive Developer.” I also contributed heavily to two different print books on various programming topics. It kept my writing alive while I pursued my career as a programmer.
Today, I work for a wonderful company, doing software development. Due to Covid-19, we had to change how we worked. Everyone did.
I work from home and writing software is very fulfilling. I’m also a bit of an artist in my spare time. That too brings joy to my life.
I love Mandeville, especially “Old Mandeville” where I live near the lake. I can walk to practically everything I need. I care what happens here.
I also have a steadfast belief that what happens at City Hall is important and people should pay attention. The small-town newspaper is supposed to be your representative at council meetings when you can’t go yourself.
I’ll already be attending these meetings now that they’re in-person once again. I figure why not put my old journalist hat back on and tell the story, as a hobby, in my spare time. It’ll be just straight reporting, no agenda, no frills. Journalism at its core… your neighbor telling you what happened as best he can. Read it if you like.
Learn more about the Mandeville Daily by reading: “Mandeville Daily begins City Council coverage”