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.