Sunday, September 4, 2011

No more rumors

With no way to know if they are real or trolls, I have had enough. I believe that posting rumors is causing more harm than good.  I will continue to post possible jobs in the area if anybody wants to share them. I will continue to allow discussions in the comments that meet my guidelines.

If Tuesday is Cut Day, or if or whenever it happens,  I will post whatever I am sent about numbers and departments. Do not assume that I have some backdoor pipeline to management. I do not. The only reason this blog served us well the last time was that many people shared real information they had.  By the end of that first day, we had collectively assembled the list you see to the right, needing only minor adjustments. Do post comments or send me emails. 

I will also post any messages from those who have lost jobs that they want to share with us. The farewells from last time are archived on a link to the right.

If the layoffs do happen and are anything as large as some of the chatter, there is a special place in Hell for whoever in HR or the legal department or whatever other layer of the corporation decided this was a good way to do this, shared by whichever of the top bosses agreed and issued the orders to stay silent.  We in the newsroom are journalists, from the copy editors to the researchers to the photo editors to the line editors to the photographers to the reporters to anybody I have left out. Journalists have a need to know set deep in our DNA. All of the previous layoffs, the bosses gave us enough advance notice to let us plan and to satisfy some of that inbred curiosity.  To leave us this time with nothing but rumors that have been impossible to validate was a needless cruelty.

Why could you not have been as informative as the last four rounds. Acknowledge publicly that cuts are coming. Say that you expect to have them completed by some approximate date. Or if the rumors are all false, say something about that. There are legal limits to what can be released. We are not stupid. But you certainly could have told us this time what you told us in the past.

There are no good ways to do this that will not cause pain and leave horrible scars. The first round of layoffs years ago where people were escorted out of the building in a few minutes was needlessly painful. So is this. 

Anybody who disagrees with anything here is welcome to comment.

Happy Labor Day.


  1. First, I think you are taking a wise approach.
    Second, our imaginations can be awful at times like these.
    No words can ease the pain of these things. I am a veteran of the Massacre of 2004.
    But some day the rotten SOBs will get theirs and may no ointment soothe the seeping eternal rash upon which they sit and twist in stenchy pain.
    May their children weep at the parents' sins against the good and decent workers.


    "Texas Norther"

  3. A few potentially interesting jobs (out of DFW area, for the most part):

    Political jobs (campaign communications directors, for instance):

    Gannett has several locations looking for wire editors and news designers, among other jobs:

    Local reporting jobs (Plano) for Housing Wire:

    Sports information positions nationwide:

    An adventure abroad:

    If you love Maine and don’t mind part-time work:

    Treasury Department writer:

    Stars & Stripes copy editor:

    Washington Post job board: Lots of hits on “writer” or “editor” in DC or elsewhere in U.S.:

  4. No matter how many times I tell myself the list is done and worrying won't make a difference, I've been tossing and turning for nights, paralyzed by dread for days. Logic and reason isn't working, and I'm way beyond humor.

  5. I fully feel your pain and am right here with you, @8:19. Except for the humor part. Gallows humor is still worth a smile for me.

  6. The light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off due to budget cuts.

  7. Here is what I learned from my own experience of being laid off by Belo:

    1) This is not in any way about you. It is about people who are slaves to the almighty buck (even though they have plenty) twisting the arms of people who are actually in need of some almighty bucks to keep food on the table and educate their kids for god-knows-what kind of future. These people then look in the mirror and find ways to live with themselves as they commit the needed atrocities at the big bosses' behest, and often soothe themselves by believing they are still valued by the company. The bottom line is that those of you who are asked to leave that day can do so with your dignity intact.

    2) The job market is brutal, especially for middle-aged practitioners of a dying art (what's left doesn't have much art, or craft, to it). Sitting in a computer-lit room sending resumes and o-so-clever cover letters to faceless hiring managers is highly unlikely to get you a job. Finding a job like the one you left is even more unlikely, except if you're eager to re-locate--and even then the competition might be stiff, and the job is unlikely to be secure (few are, anymore). Use your connections. Have a Plan B, and C, and be ready sooner rather than later to work your way through your alphabet of plans. Also, it's s great time to learn how to do something else--go back to school as soon as the next program of study starts. Check out community college programs, advanced degrees, whatever (but do inquire how school hours would affect your unemployment checks--that takes some extra navigation in advance). Cultivate another passion. Or fill a need and start your own low-overhead business - but get moving.

    3) Step back and look at your health. You'd be amazed how hard the News might have been on it. Fix it while you still can.

    4) Keep in mind that you will endure. Making your life work after a job loss is hard but not impossible. Figure out what matters most to you and set sail for those horizons; throw the rest--bitterness, anger, excess anxiety--overboard, so it doesn't drag you down. There may be an amazing journey ahead.

    Godspeed, everyone -- those who must move on, and those who must stay on at the News.

  8. To 8:19: If you are let go, look for the common thread among almost every supportive post from ex-DMNers: To varying degrees, we mostly feel better off being out of a toxic situation. The good work you did is a movable feast. I recall asking a DMN friend who was laid off in the first rounds how she felt not long afterward, and she said: "I'm poorer, but happier." I can still hear in my mind her peaceful, accepting tone that night, and it helped me when my time came. Still does. And she had been extremely fearful before that ax fell.

  9. A few words from one of your past casualties. I remember reading an anonymous post on this blog (or one of the past carnations) and despite my fear and anxiety, it gave me a little peace.
    If it's your time, take solace that, though the future might be a little more difficult, I promise, it's not the end of the world. And like the person that posted, It took some time, but I too got a better job.
    I also know that I wasn't alone among my class.
    There are jobs out there. Is it easy to land the perfect job? No. It will take some work and good timing.
    If this time doesn't happen to be your time, you're just prolonging the inevitable anyway. We all know it's not a question of if. It's a question of when.
    Might as well be now so you can get started on your next chapter.
    Best of luck to you all.

  10. Amen to everything that 10:49 said, from another person who's been in these shoes.

  11. I am thinking of all of my DMN family, whether you are laid off or not.

    I can tell you from my Star-Telegram lay off last year that it no doubt will suck, it will challenge you at times beyond what you expect, but it will not break you. It took a fair amount of alcohol to bring tears after I was handed my manila envelope. I was more pissed off than anything. All you can do is collect that unemployment, do your three required job connections a week, pick up as much freelance as you can, apply for every job that you feel suits you, and move on with your life.

    As I continue my job search in between freelance gigs, I realize that what I miss about journalism occurred what seems like a thousand years ago. And I do miss my newsrooms and the people who made going there everyday a fun experience.

    If you walk out today, things, inevitably, will be OK. If you stay, start looking anyway. Eventually, you'll have to.

    Hugs to you all.

    Liz Zavala

  12. Not to interrupt the welcome offers of moral support, but is anybody in the office yet? Anything happening?

  13. I've gotten a call. Meeting this morning.

  14. It's started. One down in editorial.

  15. One down in sports

  16. Hi, all.

    Sorry to hear what's happening at the first newsroom that took me on after college. I grew a lot as a professional in Dallas.

    We want to make sure people stay in journalism, so please check out this post:

    Good luck, yeomen.

  17. I want to encourage all who were let go today by saying that I fiercely dreaded losing my job as a middle aged professional in a dying industry. I spent so many sleepless nights tortured by idea of losing the home my child grew up in or being unable to find adequate work to pay the bills. I I searched for work several years prior to be laid off and had no luck. When the day finally arrived I found myself at peace and surprisingly relieved! My family commented that they had never seen me in such a good mood! I found work in two months time, never missed a mortgage payment and now have a lucrative position in a company where I relish the work. While I am no longer in journalism, my life is better than ever and want to share a ray of hope today with all impacted by today's layoff. It is heartbreaking but you might find that no longer living in fear is positive.

  18. I was laid off from DMN in 2008. I freelanced for more than a year but, since I was in my mid-50s, I never expected to get another full-time job.

    Unexpectedly, I was recruited by someone I had known socially for many years. Today I am earning more than I ever did as a journalist. I am in a totally different field, and the learning curve has been very steep, but I feel my writing/editing skills are valued and appreciated. What's more, for my first year of work, I got both a good raise *and* a nice bonus.

    Please realize that your skills are indeed valuable to someone in the business world. Stay in touch with everyone you know, and you may be pleasantly surprised at what opportunity lies beyond the field of journalism.