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For Whom The Bell Tolls

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Italian_Stallion, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. Italian_Stallion

    Italian_Stallion Active Member

    We're faced with all kinds of sad, sobering news in our world these days. But do we have a running thread? Should we? I thought it might be nice to have a thread where we can put faces and names to the changes, where I don't have to miss what happened to a particular poster simply because I overlooked that particular thread.

    So maybe we could just post what's going on with our jobs, our papers, our world. In any case, I want to tell my story, and you can feel free to add your story.

    The short story is that I left a spot as an AME with a crumbling daily three years ago. I had been there only seven months after moving over from the trade mag world. For the past three years, I've been building myself a nice freelance career. I work mainly for local dailies, big ones.

    But the past few months have been stark, and it just sobers me a little to the reality of our industry. The paper I left shut its doors permanently (I guess?) two weeks ago. My biggest freelance client suffered huge cuts last year in sports that left almost nothing for me. Then my second biggest client did the same in sports in December.

    For the past six months, I've been doing lots of local news and features correspondent work for one of those clients. But it was announced today that the whole bureau is closing.

    Tomorrow I start back at square one like a lot of other folks who've poured much of their lives into this profession.
     
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Don't worry, Obama will make everything better.
     
  3. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    Because he knows how to read.
     
  4. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Obama will fix the problems with newspapers after he wins the war and cures cancer in his first day in office.
     
  5. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    About the same time Mizzou stops acting like a dick.
     
  6. Mediator

    Mediator Member

    Nice hijack of a good potential thread.
     
  7. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    As well as the housing crisis, baseball's steroids problem and SNL.
     
  8. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    That's Week 2.
     
  9. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Trying to get this back on track after a promising start...

    I feel your pain, Stallion.

    And today I'm wondering: Why does it seem as if we worker bees are taking all of this so much harder, and at a more visceral level, than the suits and upper management? Why is it that so many of us are having our dreams smashed, our calling crushed, while for the suits it's just time to get to work on budget/staff cuts and Plan Bs?

    Does the newspaper crisis feel different if you're at that level -- big bucks salary, other perks, as you look down on your minions scrambling to do their jobs -- or do those jobs not require the same sort of passion, dedication and sacrifice that we front-liners are expected to have? Guess, in the end, I'm wondering if a war fought from a board room is different from a war fought on the front lines of newspapering, and I guess the answer is obvious.

    Still, I have a hard time imagining a message board like this one, except where it is publishers, top editors and owners pouring out their hearts and opening veins over the horrors and sadness in this business. Does having a golden parachute or a headhunter on speed dial change the experience that much? Why are the grunts the ones who mourn the most (besides the fact that we can't afford to lose the incomes quite as readily)?
     
  10. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    I've never been in a position to fire anyone, but I can't imagine that it would be an enjoyable experience, especially if that person(s) did not do anything to deserve it other than exist in difficult times. I've spoken to people who say it is the worst part of being a boss, and I believe they meant it when they said it. That said, what is the alternative? To martyr themselves? I'm not ashamed to say that if my directive is to cut costs, and the most logical conclusion to reach this goal is to let employees go, then that's what I'm going to do. I'm not going to offer to take a pay cut just to assuage my guilt, either. It's my job, and it's not the same as a journalists' job. The reporters are definitely the ones feeling the pain of management's actions, but I'm not going to assume that it's a cakewalk for the bosses just because they're the ones wielding the ax. In a way they are admitting failure when they execute layoffs, and that isn't pleasant for anyone, regardless of whether that person has a fat paycheck.
     
  11. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Well, hell. I hesitate to say this because I don't want to sound all high and mighty but I'll say it anyway.
    I always promised myself I'd go before I got rid of someone in a layoff situation.
    I've dismissed people. It blows. Anyone who says otherwise is an asshole of the highest order.
    To do it for no reason other than economic times? I cannot imagine looking someone who busted ass for me in the face and saying, "Well *** we're going broke. You're out." No fucking way.
    One of the reasons my new job was so appealing (one of many) was it kept me from having to do that.
     
  12. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    I can respect the sentiment, but it would seem to me to be tilting at windmills. I see no dishonor in acknowledging reality and acting accordingly. When companies are going broke, people are going to get fired. I don't think it's pleasant for the people out on their asses or the people who put them there, although at least they still have jobs.
     
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