Thursday, December 4, 2008

Something positive amidst the negative

Posted by Craig on 12/04/2008
Yesterday was a brutal day for Gannett newspapers, as the majority of the estimated 3,000 job cuts this week were carried out. The official account of layoffs/buyouts, as official as one can get anyway, per the independent Gannett Blog, is now 1,770. The number continues to climb, as that only accounts for 57 of the 85 community dailies owned by Gannett.

Scott Pitoniak - one of my first journalism mentors, a former professor of mine, and someone I have the utmost admiration for - was among those laid off. I've written about him before in this blog. He did a phenomenal job covering the Beijing Olympics this past summer, and he's easily one of the best sportswriters in the country. It was an untimely, and unjust, end for him at the Democrat and Chronicle. I wish him all the best. Sadly, he wasn't the only one affected who I knew. Copy editor Ted Rosen and assistant sports editor Jim Castor are among the departed, who I both worked with in the Sports Dept.; I wish them both the best as well. Great people, with more than 90 years of Rochester, N.Y. sports journalism experience COMBINED. So sad.

But here's something positive. Even though Gannett is headed in the wrong direction of serving the American people and carrying out the First Amendment, the journalism profession itself is not dead. Other media companies are growing without laying off their workers; and undoubtedly, more news organizations will be born in the coming years (perhaps smaller ones, more independently-owned and non-profits). And there's tremendous room for growth too, tremendous opportunity, as big media companies continue to fail the American people, cutting back personnel and seeking higher profits.

One journalist, Chrys Wu, provided a wonderful list tonight of places for unemployed journalists to find work. They include ACES Job Board, Copy Editor Job Board, and IRE Job Center, but there's more. The full list is here.

2 comments on "Something positive amidst the negative"

Nicole on December 4, 2008 at 3:35 PM said...

I am crushed that we lost Jim, who has been such a great mentor and friend to us all. His passion for what he did never failed to inspire us.

I cannot imagine what walking into work is going to be like this weekend and not having Jim and Ted there, or reading Scott's columns in advance. They'll be sorely missed. And doing this before the holidays. I don't know how the Gannett higher-ups live with themselves sometimes.

Craig on December 4, 2008 at 5:00 PM said...

Unfortunately, I think one of the biggest problems is the Gannett higher-ups don't interact at the local level. In other words, they could probably care less about Jim or Ted; they probably don't even know who they are! Really sad if you think about it.

It will be tough to go into work. I wish you and everyone at the D&C the best of luck during this trying time.


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