Sunday, September 21, 2008

At A Loss

As I was trying to sort out a post about what leaving the newspaper voluntarily meant to me -- how it was a painful and long-debated decision that I don't like to dwell on much because it feels too much like failure -- the paper went and laid off seven people in the newsroom last week. If I hadn't left, I'm guessing I would have been among them.

Every time I sit down to write about it, I go in a different direction. I want to write about my path through journalism and what's important to me. I want to craft complicated extended metaphors to illustrate my feelings about my career. I want to list alphabetically the annoyances suffered under various bosses. I want to just talk about my triumphs and good days and the fun and pride I had in any work that had to do with words. I want to rage against an industry that is hell-bent on deprecating itself right out of business. I want to thank everyone who has taught me something about writing or editing or layout or reporting. I want to hold forth on newspapers being at the vanguard of democracy, and crumbling under the demand for profits, and then bring the two together in a devastating analysis of what's wrong with America. And I can't get any of it right so I don't even try it.

I have friends who were laid off and friends who are left there. They're all in my thoughts this week.


  1. Sophie2:11 AM

    Maybe you don't need to get it 'right'? Maybe just writing is the important thing... Writing your way forwards...discovering what happens next... Natalie Goldberg calls it 'keeping the hand moving'... Bravo for taking this next exciting step on the journey. If you send me your email address, I'd like to send you something that you may find useful. Love from this side of the ocean, Sophie

  2. funnie9:27 AM

    hey there. this sounds difficult, and I'm sorry it also feels like failure, and I'm sorry you had to leave something you love so much (when it's done as it should be). And I'm sorry the whole sector's going to crap. We're all poorer for it.

    Have you heard that reporters in LA are suing Sam Zell?

    If only all reporters would/could sue when newsrooms are cut to shreds.

    Hope a newer, better door to open materializes soon, and that you are able enjoy some quiet moments at home in the meantime.

  3. I'm sorry to hear your paper is struggling. There's a new resource/community site for people who have been laid off: Everyone is welcome to share stories and pick up tips for moving on.

  4. So are you happy you left, instead of getting laid off?

  5. If you're afraid of getting it wrong, should I mention that it was actually 8 people? LOL
    See if the link to this cartoon works. It's like someone had a camera.

  6. Doh! It didn't work. It's by Cam Cardow of the Ottawa Citizen. Dated 09/04/08. Maybe this link will work. Otherwise, I'm going to bed.