If you’ve read some of my previous posts then you know I was a reporter for a large newspaper for a few years right out of college.
The experience was thrilling, amazing, defining, and aged me about 10 years. Hah. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing to happen to a… what was I… 21 when I started… almost 25 when I decided to leave? Yep. But after furloughs, layoffs, dramatic departures, etc. I felt like I had more than a lifetime of experience when it came to office politics. People at my parents or grandparents age probably never experienced what I went through or they are just now going through it.
I don’t regret what I endured. It made me stronger, made me reevaluate what I wanted to do, change things up and underlined how strongly I feel about this industry.
If you read my last post, then you know I quit in a dramatic fashion (which I will get into, believe me, it’s good) and went back to school to get my master’s in criminal justice (I was a police reporter and the world fascinated me). Drowning in debt, I pulled out of the program – opting to look back at it when I have a job to support myself and take it much slower.
Now, I am employed once again on the east coast (couldn’t get enough of that snow!) at a bigger, better newspaper than the one I left but here’s the catch: as a web producer. I’m embracing the progressive movement of journalism via the internet and I have to say, while I miss writing, I feel like I am doing something worthy everyday. The most writing I do, unfortunately is headline writing and summaries. But hey, I’m in a newsroom, able to bounce ideas off editors and working an even faster paced environment with high expectations.
I’ve only been a web producer for 3 weeks so stay tuned on how I feel about the job once it begins to wear, but so far so good. It’s unfortunate that I am not in the reporters club – they tend to look out for each other and socialize together (much better crowd than the internet people) – but although I pine for those days I can’t complain about the better salary and not driving somewhere, getting lost in the snow.
Wow. I really let this one fall off the edge of the world.
Thank you to everyone who has commented…seriously almost all of them were extremely insightful and it’s nice to see that there are like-minded people out there who want to share ideas with me. Even you advertising advocates…
That being said, I’ve done some serious soul-searching since I last posted…
I attempted to get my master’s in criminal justice…was shy of obtaining it by a semester when I was offered yet ANOTHER job in a newsroom. After painfully flip-flopping like a true government politician (I may still have a future in public office), I decided to take the job. My mounting student debt was keeping me up at night and it wasn’t like I was going to law school with the consequential soul selling for at least $100K a year. There was no way to guarantee that I’d be able to pay back these loans and not live like a pauper for the succeeding 5 years. I don’t know how much I covered because I’m lazy and don’t want to go through my past posts but almost three years ago now, I left my job at northeast newspaper in a dramatic fashion.
My executive editor and I did not agree on many things. I understand his corporate attitude – it is how he has survived and done so well for himself. But just because I understand it – doesn’t mean I have to concede and let his way of succeeding be my way of flourishing, too.
In the end, I was given a few days to decide if I really wanted to resign and I turned in that infamous letter of resignation. It was polite, professional – sugar-coated the reasons I was leaving and gave ample notice. I do not regret that decision, though I will admit life was rough for a long time after that.
Before I start rambling, I was a breaking news/police reporter there and the criminal justice field very much piqued my interest. I packed up and flew a few thousand miles to an entirely different beast: Texas. Don’t ask me why, just know that I had friends there and I was looking for a lifestyle change. I got it – wasn’t my cup of…tequila and now I am back on the east coast working in a bigger (even though they’re not corporate) higher-ranked newspaper. I’m not reporting, so it will be interesting to write from this new perspective. I’m still editorial – I will never go to advertising (sorry), but it’s much more web focused as I have determined the digital department in any newsroom is the only one expanding, that pays decent and is pretty much the future.
So please, bear with me, as I am just getting back into this and keep the comments coming. I’ve got some great theories I’d like to run past people on the future of journalism.
Thanks for reading, really.
I haven’t updated for a very long time, but a lot has been going on in my life. I’ve been very busy at work, including obtaining a higher position along with a nice pay upgrade. So if the newspaper industry is hurting, at least it’s no affecting me negatively… yet.
News corporations all over the nation are looking at different ways to save money, with layoffs being a last resort. Some have done a sort of rat race to the finish line by making people already in good managerial positions re-interview for their jobs, regionalizing positions and only keeping the best. As you might know from reading my previous entries, other companies have furloughed (unpaid vacation) and some have decided that anyone making more than a certain (pretty high) amount of money will have to take a pay cut for one or two weeks.
Either way, my hopes are higher for the survival of newspapers. My feelings are still up in the air for whether the print version of them will ever be able to succeed the way it once did, but whether it’ll be in a weekly form, online form or whatever other form it could possibly take, writing reporters will always be aorund. Can you imagine if the only reporters that existed were the reporters on TV? Ugh.
With all the layoff scares and the demoralizing newspaper buzz, people that have survived layoff rounds in the newsroom are looking for other jobs… which means vacating their reporting positions.
Recently, I met with one of the editors of the newspaper I work for and he told me he is faced with an interesting but precarious situation. He is interviewing people for a reporting position, which is usually highly sought after because our newspaper is one of the largest in my state. But for once in his life, the people applying are extremely inexperienced.
That is probably leaving him in a weird position. How can you depend on someone without experience? The newspaper’s name is at stake, it’s reputation.
It seems that all the doubt clouding the air of job security at a newspaper has begun to really take affect. Less people want to work for newspapers and more are leaving to pursue much more secure jobs like teachers or professors at colleges.
My theory is in the early stages. People will lose their communication line if newspapers and media in general continue down this lane. What will happen if there was no one left to report the news? Interesting.
Posted in The End of Professional Journalism?
Tagged gannett, journalism, layoffs, leaving newspapers, low morale, low morale in the newsroom, mclatchy, newspaper layoffs, newspapers, newsroom, professional journalists, reliance on journalsim, reporters, surviving layoffs, tribune
So, if you haven’t noticed, I haven’t written a post in quite some time. But, fear not readers, I have not turned my back on this blog! I have just been extra busy.
With the layoffs in the newsroom, the workload has been more than some can handle. The newspaper has to go on, the news doesn’t stop, the stories don’t stop pouring in and the people don’t stop reading (hopefully, for now).
So the work is being redistributed adding extra responsibilities to everyone’s already cumbersome load. But, what else can we do?
So, with that said, I am still continuing to write for this blog, however it may not be as often. But don’t tune out, check back every now and then because I am learning how to better manage my time and will be able to write a little more frequently once I am completely adapted to this new heavier workload
While I still remain pessimistic and depressed about the recent layoffs, I can’t dwell on it, since I survived.
I was just given the dream schedule I originally would have had to wait for at least several months. My hours resemble normal business hours, which makes life easier and I have more responsibilities—so I guess I’m a little more important.
However, I know my new found importance is due to the layoffs. It’s hard to feel like I deserved this when I am only benefiting from the loss of others. I know it wasn’t my fault and the work has to go on but it seems a little hollow.
How am I supposed to feel like I deserve a congratulations when it might have not happened if newspapers weren’t struggling.
Either way, I know I shouldn’t let anything get stop me from doing what I am passionate about and that’s writing. I’m happy for the change and can only hope that it keeps coming my way.
Rupert Murdoch, media mogul, called those who feel the Internet is the death of the newspaper “misguided cynics who are too busy writing their own obituary to be excited by the opportunity.” Funny, well put.
But how far off are those cynics? It’s easy for someone like Murdoch to sit high upon his billions looking down on lowly reporters making less than $30,000 who don’t have the resources or time to come up with a new way to profit from news.
Even CEO’s of newspapers, who have the time, money and resources are failing to come up with ideas—and in the meantime, their employees, those lower on the totem poll suffer! And, now this is just a guess, I’m pretty sure newspaper exec’s are still making a pretty penny.
So if the optimist, Rupert Murdoch, has any ideas, by all means, can we hear them? Because I, for one, do not want to go through another round of layoffs; I fear I will not be as lucky again.