Sunday, December 14, 2008

A dark month for journalism


My thoughts go out to the 2,000 Gannett employees who lost their jobs over the last two weeks, in what is certainly the largest single layoff in the history of American newspapers, and especially to my former co-workers at The Asbury Park Press who were let go without warning Dec. 2, some after decades of service. That following week, the Tribune Company, which publishes The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun, among other properties, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, ceasing severance payments to employees who had agreed to take buyouts or were laid off. This week will likely bring more grim news, as The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News float a plan to end home delivery on most days of the week, publishing truncated newsstand-only editions and possibly leading to more large-scale layoffs. And this is also the month that sees the departure of the remainder of The Newark Star-Ledger employees who took buyouts (including myself), depleting the newsroom by nearly 50%.  To quote another N.J. native, these jobs are going, boys, and they ain't coming back.

5 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

THis is all heartbreaking. Where will it end.

Karen Olson said...

The Philadelphia Inquirer, too, has announced layoffs. A friend who's a copy editor there is getting laid off...for the second time.

wstroby said...

The writing's been on the wall, but I think things are moving faster than anyone would have guessed, thanks to the economy. My fear is that a lot of other newspapers will follow the Detroit/Tribune models, in which case I think we'll be seeing some major and mid-size newspapers going under in 2009.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Journalists served at the only oversight in a society with few safeguards. Who will monitor local politics, in particular. Would Kwame Kilpatrick be in jail now without reporters on the Freep? I think not.

JMags said...

Who is going to cover local politics and events? Nobody does. part of the reason is people don't actually read their local papers. They're uninformed. Local politicians will go unchecked. What a joke. And reading northjersey.com online is not satisfying. It's like comparing a Calabrese style spicy soppressata with... pepporini!