In this spirit of the New York Times’ real-time word train experiment, a collection of a few random takes on the decline of the industry from friends still in the trenches, culled from recent e-mails, from people working in South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. These are young, talented people, still looking to do good journalism, finding themselves frustrated at the breach. Expletives preserved, because journalists curse, especially in tough times (note- I’m not including names or any specific work places, but if any of the below quoted want their comments removed, let me know):
my paper laid off 6 people today, 4 newsroom including lifestyles editor and lifestyles copy editor, leaving 2 people in that department. yet they say we’re gonna keep putting out a lifestyles section. HUH?? I want a fucking revolution. The paper needs to be completely restructured with 25 journalists in mind. It’s not remotely the same paper that exists with 50 people. I want a tight, highly produced 8 page paper instead of a loose weak 20 page paper or whatever. I want my friends to have their damn jobs.
Anyway, thought I would drop you a note to tell you about newsroom drama. 20 percent of our staff got laid off today — appx 30 people. They were ruthless. 3 photographers, 3 reporters, 3 producers, 1 web producer, 1 designer, two department heads including my old boss (the guy who hired me), Lots of sales people, our New Media marketing director and her 5 marketers, our Digital Assets Manager … and on and on and on. I honestly can not understand how I didn’t get laid
off. I know it’s only a matter of time. I figured I was gone at the
end of the month (they’ve done layoffs the last week of the month for the past three months)
I know you must have this conversation all the time,
but isn’t it fucked up how fast our profession is being wiped out.?
Breaks my heart.
The whole thing has been a shit show. They announced that nine people were going to be laid off then took three days to do it. Everyone sat around and counted heads for three days to see if they’ve gotten to nine yet. All the guidance we’ve gotten is bullshit about working smarter. The only ideas about making things better involve just waiting the bad economy out. My short-term idea about making things better involve WineFest on Saturday and St. Pat’s Day on Sunday.
We’re holding up OK, I guess. The biggest problem we have is with our new regional editor, who clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing. Our old editor was insane, but she had a great nose for news and analysis. The new guy is all about chicken-shit features on the front of our statewide Friday paper, which is an inside baseball publication dedicated to hard news analysis.
I personally can’t take it anymore, and need to leave immediately. My attitude has changed.