Another round of layoffs, another day at the newsroom
It’s kind of sad when the start of a quarter signals a memo from corporate. No need for a rumor mill – though it’s there nonetheless – history’s been the indicator, and the numbers don’t lie. And just as Tuesday always follows Wednesday and July follows June, the 3rd quarter triggers a memo of doom.
Nationwide our community newspaper group will lose over 1000 positions, our daily among them. Who will the axe fall on this time? When? All we know is it’ll happen before July 9, and despite the financial necessity, it’s no reflection on us, says corporate; we all rock!
And we do, actually. Each quarter of less staff and lowered morale left behind more work and a forced “rah-rah” attitude that ultimately took hold in a “let’s fake it till we make it.” I witnessed professionals – myself among them -- work out of cardboard boxes in the midst of a move, never blinking an eye. No temper tantrums, no screaming matches, no coffee cups flung. A paper got out each day, we hustled to scoop the competition and waited for the primary and board of education election results.
We interviewed new college grads, shot Memorial Day parades and covered the courts and hot trials. We here, there and everywhere, just as always. No one would ever have known we were smaller in number, a little worried and a tad confused.
More layoffs brought even more work and a computer program from the 1980s and still, we soldiered on with few complaints, stories banged out and awards won as if nothing at all changed. Longer hours and all kinds of new systems in place, some good, some not, and still … business as usual.
We all want our jobs.
And it’s not just because the United States unemployment figure today, July 2, is 9.5% and 467,000 jobs were lost in June. It’s because we know we’ll unlikely find another job in a newsroom, and it’s where we want to be. We’ll take the changes, face the uncertain future, walk the unstable ground and wait for the next memo of doom.
We just want to keep our jobs. And soldier on -- as journalists.