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Virginian-Pilot layoffs coming

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by big green wahoo, Nov 3, 2008.

  1. I'm told the Pilot's staff was informed today that 150 folks from across the entire organization will be laid off by New Year's. Don't have more specific info. Rumor is that a buyer for the paper will be announced in the next two weeks and that these cuts may have been part of that deal.
  2. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    OK, here's the deal:


    125 jobs, but only 15 from the actual newsroom of the Virginian-Pilot (though, for all you cynics, they say it's mostly editors and management). They're also losing 15-20 by shuttering Link, a free daily newspaper that was going to be profitable probably by 2010. They just can't wait for that money to roll in.

    Mystery Meat, one of the breakout stars of the Seattle outing, is one of the ones who's out of luck in the next three weeks or so. I can't vouch for him enough, and it's another sign of how shitty of a business this is right now.
  3. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    fuck. that really sucks. best of luck to you mm.
  4. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    Damn, damn, damn.
  5. luckyducky

    luckyducky Guest

    Sucks. Good luck, MM.
  6. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    This is awful, and it seem fairly shortsighted to shut down a publication that was allegedly so near to breaking even. All the start up costs, etc. wasted.

    My darling Mystery Meat, I know you will land on your feet somewhere. Maybe Seattle, where you can indulge yourself.
  7. JoelHammond

    JoelHammond Member

    I've got a good friend at Link. Damnit. Thanks for the info, IJAG....
  8. ArnoldBabar

    ArnoldBabar Active Member

    Damn, sorry to hear that, Meat. You should come bartend at Shorty's!
  9. pseudo

    pseudo Well-Known Member

    Sorry, MM (and anyone else affected by this). That bites.
  10. ondeadline

    ondeadline Active Member

    God, I hate this business.
  11. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    I hesitate to make this post, because I don't want to come off as though I'm begging for your sympathy. I mean, I appreciate the sentiments you've posted. But I also know we're all hurting -- people getting laid off, people who won't see raises this year (again), people who don't know if today's job is tomorrow's pink slip. I don't want to be myopic and self-indulgent (disregard that, I'm going to be ungodly self-indulgent) for my problems, because chances are, you've got them too. But then it'd be impolite to not say anything, right?

    And I guess this pretty much outs me, though if you know me, you already know my screenname, and if you don't know me, you don't care, so no harm, no foul.


    I'm hurting pretty bad. Not for me -- though, eventually, the whole "hey, I don't have a source of income!" is going to hit me like a 100-pound bag of fail. Not even for my co-workers, all in their 20s, all with blindingly bright futures. They'll move on and be the better for the experience. But I think a lot of them are hurting for the same reason I am.

    We knew, at our cores, that latching onto a new paper like Link was risky. Seriously: the phrase "start-up newspaper" in this day and age is just begging for trouble. No matter how much we believed in what we were doing, there were undeniable risks: A weakening economy. An industry taking body blows with each passing day. And a business plan that, to a layman, sounded chancy -- going after that 18-34 demographic either assumed unreachable or made so by ham-handed efforts at some vague sense of coolness.

    I've known good people at every stop I've made. I've known talented people at every stop I've made. Never have I been in a place where everyone in the office was both. I came in last year and the talent had me immediately overwhelmed. Usually I could fit in and be one of the good ones in reasonably short order. By our standards, I don't think I ever was the "good one". Not by the countriest of miles.

    The design was cutting-edge and attention-grabbing (though you'd expect that from a product the Pilot started). The copy editing, sharp and concise, turning 30 inches of AP rambling into five inches that still told the whole story. The vision was on point; the execution rarely flawed. You didn't have to squint your eyes to tell if you were holding a Link, and you didn't forget it as you were reading.

    And we had this great frenetic energy -- if anyone didn't like anyone else, I don't know about it (unless I'm the ... uh oh). There was this impermeable sense ofl good humor and general likability that I think we translated into the finished product really nicely. They had abilities that transcended newspapering -- I think half the damn newsroom has some form of musical talent, and I'm listening to one of my co-workers' debut album right now.

    We all had faith in what we were doing. We weren't megalomaniacal enough to think we were going to single-handedly save newspapers, or anything hoary like that. We didn't invent the alt-daily, nor did we perfect it, though we tried our damndest. But we thought we were part of something special, something that might in due time change the way people look at newspapers. Do you know how encouraging it is to work at a place where you felt like you were steering a ship instead of trying to duct-tape all the leaks in a vain effort to keep afloat? I've been doing this full-time for seven-odd years, part time for five before that, and it had never happened before for me. That's what we were doing, and it felt pretty damned awesome.

    So when we send the last pages of the Dec. 19 issue, it'll be well and truly over. Link, dead after two years. To quote Dick Schaap: that's an obscenity.

    They'll all do well. For as much trouble as I had treading water compared to some of them, I can't even imagine holding my own with them when their careers hit the diamond lanes. But no matter where we go, it'll never be anything like what we had. I can't imagine anything ever will be.

    I'll move on too. Maybe to another newspaper, maybe not. Maybe to a website, or a PR firm, or law school, or trucking school, or the bar at Shorty's (sup AB). But I'm probably going to mourn this as hard as the death of a loved one. Outside my mom, and perhaps a miracle (like a wife), probably harder. And it'll be jarring to drive to the mall or downtown and see the Link boxes empty. But then I'll dust myself off, get over it, and push back.

    A note to my next employer: I'll hit this job with all the drive in my fat-wracked body. You won't have to wonder on that point. But, please, allow me this indulgance: Every once in a while, I'll get a faraway look in my eyes. I'll be thinking of Link and remembering what it was, and dreaming about what it could have been. It'll fade with time. But I'll never get to shake it. Never want to, either.

    Gotta put together another paper in 14 hours. I'm gonna miss this so much.

    Ah well. Walk on, y'know?


    Damn, this read a lot better in my mind. Yeesh.
  12. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    I've already told you this, but it's worth saying again. And again. And again. Good luck.
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