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
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.
So apparently the half of my job that has been moved to advertising will remain there and I will not be dragged down with it. I did have some holiday shifts that are still up in the air, but hey, at this point as long as I’m not a hybrid newsroom/advertiser I’m fine with what little kinks need to be worked out to make the transition smoother.
Needless to say I had to work this past weekend and unlike the newsroom, there are absolutely NO people there on the weekends. It was a little eerie, I had to turn on all the lights (took me a while to find them) and I was hearing footsteps and freaking out every now and then.
It wasn’t bad as the first day, during the week when everyone in advertising were around and I had “helpers.” I didn’t have to deal with their incompetence, just my own, which is manageable.
So, it turns out that my job was more affected by the recent layoffs than I had originally thought. I knew, of course, that the work load was going to increase, with less staff and the same amount of work—it seemed obvious. But the corporate company cut more at my specific paper than anywhere else in my state, since it is the biggest one among them. They also decided to combine classifieds and advertising with papers across the state (owned by the same company) so it is all at one location, my location. But advertising? I’m in the newsroom…shouldn’t bother me right?
Certain positions and aspects that were previously done in the newsroom, by journalists, because they follow AP style, have copy editors etc., etc. have now been moved to the dreaded advertising department. Don’t get me wrong, if advertising is what you want to do, more power to you. It just isn’t my cup of tea.
Half of my position’s duties have been moved to advertising, they say temporarily, until they can hire and have me train people to take my position. Does anyone see something wrong with this picture? You laid people off so you can hire more in a different department? Riiiight.
Needless to say my first day in advertising was hell on earth.
The newsroom is a rather bleak place this week. Layoffs have been announced, but no one knows if the list has been completed yet. It is rumored that there are a few more days to announce the final few, so no one can exhale yet.
Having never experienced such drastic and immediate changes at work before, I have to say, I don’t think it’s something I can get used to. There were tears, hugs, angry faces, looks of confusion and boxes of things people had at their desks for what seemed like forever.
The newspaper I work for is owned by one of the three large corporate newspaper companies. I want the company to remain anonymous because I do love my job.
I wonder how the corporations chose who to layoff. I wonder if they just gave the same email out that everyone in my office got, explaining that there would be a 10% cut and the managing editors’ would have to meet their layoff quota. Were the managing editors’ really handed the reigns and told to cut people they feel are the least necessary? Or were they told to cut specific people.
Because from what I have seen and heard, the editors’ seemed very unaware of most of the changes until the very day they had to bring people in. And I know for a fact that one person would not have gotten laid off if it was up to his/her managing editor. The position ordered to be eliminated could only have come from a distant land (like corporate headquarters) that had absolutely no idea how it would affect the efficiency here at the ground level.
I know this is never a good time for any company, corporate or small. There isn’t an easy way to tell anyone who’s done nothing wrong to hit the bricks. But there has to be a better way to let people go. Calling them in like cattle while everyone around knows what’s happening is probably one of the worst ways to do it, other than announcing it over the intercom.
About 2 months ago an email was sent out to everyone working in my office. It explained there would be a 10% involuntary staff reduction effective between Monday, Dec. 1 and Wednesday, Dec. 3 2008. So, as you can imagine, the morale in the newsroom is irregularly low. Meanwhile, new (and expensive) technology upgrades are being added to our facility.
One can’t help but wonder how news corporations prioritize their budgets, let alone time construction of costly upgrades in the face of large layoffs.
People who judge the media so harshly, forget that they are people too, facing hard economic times, losing jobs, worrying about money and life, much like everyone else, only they’ve been facing these problems before the economic crisis. The economy has little or nothing to do with the extinction newspapers are grappling with.