To Those Who Lost Their Newspaper Jobs

Sad to hear that some old friends lost their jobs at the local daily newspapers they labored at for years. People I know at The Eagle-Tribune, Salem News, Newburyport Daily News and Gloucester Daily Times were hit.

Mood music:

A few years ago, I would have seen this as an evil company sticking it to good people who gave their best years and efforts to the machine. I don’t see it that way anymore.

I’m lucky because, so far, I haven’t been cut by the layoff buzz saw. But I’ve seen it happen to others. It’s easy to be angry with the people who do the laying off, but I know enough managers at this point to know that this is brutally hard for them, too. I have friends at different companies who had to decide who to let go of, and the process cut them to the core. No one wants to kick good talent out the door, and there’s a lot of survivor’s guilt.

Of course, there are big corporations that are much more heartless about layoffs, but for the smaller guys it’s hell.

So I’m not angry. I have no right to be anyway, because I haven’t worked for these newspapers for years. I have no clue about  what went into the decision to let people go.

I’m just sad for those affected.

But I’m hopeful for them at the same time.

This sort of thing is hell, but it’s never the end. For some, it’s the start of something much, much better. I’ve been in jobs that depleted me body and soul. There were days at one company where getting laid off would have come as a relief — until it came time to figure out how to put food on the table. It’s complicated, though, because I was coming apart at the seams in those jobs and it was nobody’s fault but mine.

I only know that back then I couldn’t imagine ever finding a new job, especially a job I’d be happy in. So I stayed with it and carried on like an asshole.

Today, I have a job that I love, so things do change.

To my friends who lost their jobs, I pray it’ll be the same for you.

The good news is that one way or another, these things have a way of working themselves out. We just have to keep a cool head along the way. Of course, that’s a lot easier said than done, and it’s never been one of my better skills.

I’ve also learned that there’s life after newspapers for a journalist. Most of what I do is online, and most of the newer publications emphasize online content over print. My own news consumption is now exclusively online. Print may be a dying product, but editing and journalism is alive and well. It’s just different now. If you’re willing to embrace the change, good things can follow.

That’s my personal observation, anyway. 

Knowing some of the newly laid off people as I do, I know they’re going to land on their feet, because that’s who they are.

I also know that some of the people who did the laying off can become valuable allies as you search for the next thing. They want you to be OK. Most of them do, anyway.

I wish you all the very best. Good luck.

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3 thoughts on “To Those Who Lost Their Newspaper Jobs

  1. Pingback: Shit Happens When Two OCD Cases Work Together « THE OCD DIARIES

  2. I just read about the layoffs at the E-T and the other publications on Dan Kennedy’s blog and I felt bad. Like you, I am hopeful about journalism in a digital age (which reminds me, I need to send you an e-mail with good news!), and like you, I’ve found a lot of freedom in a non-newsroom life. But it still hurts to watch the institutional spasming. For me, the E-T was a good, teaching experience, thanks to yourself and other editors and colleagues. I enjoyed myself. I learned a ton about how to be a strong, dedicated local reporter. I look back on that job with pride. And it hurts to know that people are going through uncertainty.

  3. You could not have picked a better song for this entry. I’m a huge fan of the Foos and that song is one of my favorites. My husband was laid off for several months in 2009 and it took a huge toll on him and us. It was a long time before I could listen to “Times Like These” without sobbing my eyes out.

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