The "R-word," as I've seen and heard our current economic situation called a number of times, has moved from prescient prediction to headline news to an unavoidable and grudgingly accepted status quo.  The recession touches all of us, of all walks of life, in all industries.  It dominates conversation so much that the word sometimes seems to have become the adult version of the teenage "like" affliction, losing its meaning with every progressive utterance. I'd be willing to bet that many of our journalist friends feel similarly, and the news is beginning to reflect this, particularly in the IT media.  As the stock market continues to drop, so too does the novelty, newsworthiness and value of the recession story.
Back in the last few months of 2008, the recession permeated not only finance-focused Wall Street Journal, but the trade press as well.  In IT for example, we had classic recession-themed stories like Network World's "Gartner recommends 20 ways to cut IT costs" or this eWeek podcast with Greenough client Quest Software on how to automate labor-intensive IT processes to save in the downturn.  Of course, these stories are still published every day; cash-strapped businesses are still hungry for penny-pinching tips. However, each day it gets harder and harder to sort out one sources 10 tips from another's, and I think a closer look reveals that, when it comes to IT media story subject matter, the ratio of recession-to-other is changing.  We could all use a ittle comfort right now, and the media seems to have found a fresh interest in stories that bring a human touch to technology. 
While many early cost-savings stories focused on why businesses needed to cut costs, I've seen a lot more lately that are aimed directly at CIOs and IT managers who are nearing their wits' end as the recession drags on: how to keep jobs, where the jobs are, salaries they can expect, and how to communicate their value to executives.  What's more, there's great opportunity for stories that can get a stressed-out IT pro to crack a smile, or at least think about something besides dollar signs.  Check out a few of Computerworld's reader favorites of the moment: Google Earth: Five Fun Ways to Waste Time and Aboard the Navy's high-tech pioneer, the USS Freedom CIO's homepage features an article on people search engines that reveal everything from buying habits to musical preferences, adding a personal touch to security issues, and Network World leads today with the feel-good headline 10
Gigabit Ethernet is the one bright spot
The final question, of course, is when will the story shift to coming out of the recession in a strong position?  My theory is: only when we can see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.  Readers and businesses today are so preoccupied with trying to survive that any story about how to thrive is completely irrelevant.

– Contributed by Catharine Morgan.  Follow her @c_morgan