It’s been a strange five weeks. It began with a relaxing Montana getaway and culminated Friday night with toasting two dozen laid-off colleagues at the billiards hall down the street from the newsroom.
Rewind. On Oct. 1, eviscerating cuts were announced at my newspaper, The Spokesman-Review. It’s old news by now for some: Twenty-one mostly younger staffers were named in an involuntary layoff roll call. Steve Smith resigned as editor. The next day, Assistant Managing Editor for Local News Carla Savalli stepped down. Managing Editor Gary Graham has been tapped to take the editor’s reins. Last Wednesday, three managers were laid off, and another was moved to a nonmanagerial position.
Amazingly, I still have a job. The layoff list stopped just below my name. But I haven’t felt much like celebrating. Or, evidenced by my five-week blog hiatus, reflecting on my trade.
My departing co-workers are an insanely talented bunch. A few have gone public with their fates (here, here). My co-producer, Thuy Dzuong Nguyen, was on the list and wrote emphatically about the impact of these cuts (Colin Mulvany republished it on his blog). Her last day was Wednesday, and I’m already feeling the increased workload.
These were not just co-workers: Nearly all were friends. Many of us bonded on the Gang of Eight newsroom reorganization squad. I played music with one. I hung out with others. One of the managers gave me my first journalism job.
This has made for a depressing few weeks. But last week, I decided I couldn’t stay in this rut of gloom any longer. If I’m going to stay sane in this job, then I’ve got to dive back in head-first. I’m not alone. This isn’t to diminish the loss of my former co-workers. I’ll notice their absent every day. But I can’t dwell on it.
We have a huge election coming up. Our new website should launch in the not-too-distant future. And there remains plenty of multimedia to produce and package on our current site. I shouldn’t have trouble staying busy at work.
The remaining question is how I’m going to breathe life back into my blogging and the professional development resources it showcased. I’m going to do some reflecting on this site and my long-dormant Burger, Revised. I want to follow Mindy McAdam’s advice and make fuller use of social bookmarks and Twitter.
Five points to anybody who guesses the significance of the above image.