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Laying off journalists

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by UNCGrad, Apr 22, 2015.

  1. UNCGrad

    UNCGrad Member

    Former Greensboro News & Record Editor John L. Robinson blogs about the day he had to lay off 17 full-time and a dozen part-time employees on one day in 2007: Laying off journalists | Media, disrupted
  2. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    That's a good perspective. I would never want to be the one having to have those discussions. I remember 10 years or so ago the sports editor here talking about how there had never been layoffs as long as he had been here (25-plus years). In the years since then, layoffs have become so common that barely has an effect on me. I have had good friends lose their jobs, and that really sucks, but what sucks almost as much is that it has just become part of my working life. We were told less than a week ago that we are taking significant pay cuts. All I could do is shrug my shoulders and vow to update my resume. It's the third time taking temporary pay cuts, there have been a few rounds of furloughs, and layoffs a few times a year. Oh, and do more work with fewer and fewer people. Man, it really sucks to be in this business these days.
  3. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    That was a good read, and I give him credit for refusing to put out any gobbledygook about how they will be just as strong and will provide better coverage after the layoffs.
    Bronco77 likes this.
  4. Bronco77

    Bronco77 Well-Known Member

    Agreed, and I also give him credit for not using the term "right-sizing," a distasteful term my former paper used when it began laying people off. Our editor was generally a decent guy, but when he said our staffing level needed to be "right-sized" -- an expression ownership loved to throw around -- I lost a lot of respect for him.
  5. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting, a good read. Brings back memories for me ... our shop managed to hold off the layoffs until 2008, but it still sucked for both the laid off and the employees remaining.

    I remember working up the nerve to stop in the publisher's office and ask why (I was not one of those laid off) and he replied that in the past few months, three local car dealerships who were huge advertisers pulled all of their ads. The revenue just started drying up overnight, and seven years later, it hasn't come back.

    As Robinson notes in his column:

  6. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    Time to think about adding other manufacturing processes for support.
    "Hello, welcome to the Tampa Bay Times and Coca-Cola regional bottling center."

    I'm only half-kidding.
  7. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    Or change the name of the paper to "Coca-Cola presents the Tampa Bay Times"

    Anything that creates revenue and keeps journalists working can no longer be dismissed.
    Riptide likes this.
  8. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    JR was one of the best editors you could've asked for. It's a shame the industry shoved someone like him out.

    As I said on his FB page, the one thing I remember most about that day is my own overwhelming sense of guilt. I'd just been accepted to law school, but hadn't told anyone yet. I wanted more than anything to trade places with the one of the older newsroom staffers with a family to support. It was too late. I'm still mad that the publisher didn't offer newsroom-wide buyouts first. It would've been more in keeping with Landmark's corporate image to give people a chance to self-select first. But Landmark was at a complete loss how to handle the situation. Like a bunch of doddering fools.
  9. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    Good read. I can only imagine how difficult it is on either side.
    I know when we had to lay off one person (ONE) in our department the editor mulled for a while and had several meeting with the assistant editor. The assistant editor told me our top editor considered resigning just because of having to make the decision, and it broke him. We had a full newsroom back then and even had one shared desk. I look around now, new editors and seven empty desks. Though I share the belief that journalism is still relevant and newspapers can still be successful, I admit I have joined the ranks of those ready to move on. But over three decades into this now, it's not exactly easy knowing where to go.
  10. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    That's a good piece. His bar-tending soccer friend was right. He didn't have it that bad that day.
  11. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    I have not read that linked article. I just don't want to.

    Anyone else feel like that?
  12. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    Nah, read it. It's really good. Yeah, the other people had a worse day, but this guy was ripped apart by what he was told to do. And judging from the comments of people who worked for him, he was a fine newsroom leader all the way. And then he got out, too.
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