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Now former USAT writer on doing things right, getting the ax

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SixToe, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    She did as she was asked, and found her name on 'the list.'


    "But what bothers me the most is what my firing represented. See, I’ve been learning all the tricks that a modern multi-platform journalist is supposed to know. In the past 22 months, I’ve blogged, tweeted, shot photos and videos, and handled speaking engagements. I edited my section, managed my high-personality staff and then in my spare time, I wrote cover stories – something that very few other editors at USA TODAY do. I hustled and I cajoled and I ended up out on my ass anyway."
  2. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    Virtually everyone at the Rocky Mountain News did the same thing, and we all saw how that worked out. Really, it doesn't matter how much you work and how much you do. If they want you gone -- or they want to shutter the doors -- they will.
  3. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    Just read that. Wow. I'm sure we'd all feel the same way if we were laid off. But. . .I'm not sure such venting in a public forum is the wisest of choices. Don't get me wrong. It's exactly how I would feel if I were laid off. But when you read it, it comes across as "They should have laid off someone else. Not me." A simple change of all the "I" and "Me" to "We" and "Us" would've had a similar therapeutic effect without coming across as whiny and self-important.

    From the blog entry:

    <quote>During my 20 years in the mainstream media, I’ve written stories that have changed lives, and I’ve written stories purely for entertainment.</quote>

    I mean, maybe you have written some stories that have changed lives. But it takes some balls to boast about it.
  4. Editude

    Editude Active Member

    If the journalism world is becoming as inward-gazing as many say it is, then there's nothing wrong with doing the same when called for. The model is so broken that even a (relatively) forward-looking product as USA Today has no idea how to proceed.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I didn't really have a problem with it. Not like she called anyone out or ripped the paper.
  6. Prospero

    Prospero Member

    Daemon, respectfully, your point is slightly off base. I do agree with you that it's a bad idea to burn bridges. It's never a good idea to let the heat of such a moment dictate your public reaction. I don't think this journalist went that far, though.

    This journalist probably is experiencing the same jumble of emotions most of us felt when we were let go, no matter where in the world we worked or when it happened: disillusionment, disgust, dread, denial, sorrow, betrayal and, more often than not, relief. What gets you the most, though, is the injustice of it all. Surely, we believe, we deserve better after all our hard work, high production, consistent demonstration of talent and sacrifice. Surely, we believe, all those years of doing things the right way would not end up rewarded with an unceremonious phone call and a miserable meeting in a windowless room with an HR rep. Our professional lives have been shattered, and our personal lives have been thrown into a realm of uncertainty. When it happens, especially the first few days, we crave some sort of affirmation. No one else is likely to give it to us, at least not in a meaningful way. Because let's face it, most people in this business are more worried about holding on to their own jobs than making sure the latest random layoff victim still feels good about his or her career.

    So, in the horrible hours after a layoff, if a writer wants to tell the world that he or she did not deserve this, that he or she WAS good at the job, that the people who decided to eliminate the position made a terrible mistake, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
  7. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    I can't blame people for buying into the whole "New media skills will save us" chant in the last few years, but anyone who believes it still after the last 12 months is just fooling themselves.
  8. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Any journo who gets laid off and is surprised or offended about it, just hasn't been paying attention. People who have won Pulitzers have been getting forced into early retirement for the last 20 years.
    If this business was college football, Frank Beamer, Jim Tressell and Mack Brown would have been the first to go.
  9. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    New media skills that execs want to hear is posting to Facebook and linking to other news sites.
  10. Mystery Meat II

    Mystery Meat II Well-Known Member

    By God this.
  11. Mystery Meat II

    Mystery Meat II Well-Known Member

    And new media skills WILL save us -- it just won't save newspaper jobs for us. That's a distinction we'd do well to remember going forward. Knowing Twitter and Facebook (and the proper professional uses for both) is not a bad thing. They're not going away. We are not going back to print, first last and forever. How we move on from that -- as individuals, not as part of the listing ship of newspapering -- is the key to journo salvation.

    As opposed to journo salivation, to which the answer is free food in the press box </crossthread>
  12. writingump

    writingump Member

    Talent and institutional knowledge mean less and less any more. If they want to get rid of you, they will -- no matter who you are. That's the moral of this story.
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