OLD Media Moves

The backstory in Westchester

August 30, 2009

David Carr of the New York Times writes about the overhaul at The Journal News in Westchester County, N.Y., that resulted in the business news staff being eliminated.

Carr writes, “One longtime worker who received a manila envelope, but still asked to remain anonymous — ‘This is not a great time for me to make waves’ — was bitter about the process.

“‘How is the fact that I don’t have a Twitter or Facebook account relevant to what I do?’ he said. ‘After many years of great work here, I have to go into some office and tell a person who I have never met why I deserve to work at The Journal. I probably didn’t do a good enough job of hiding my disgust.’

“Confronted by the Hobbesian prospect of lobbying for a job they thought they already had, some simply said no thanks. The majority of the sales staff in the Rockland office — eight out of 11 people — declined to reapply and took severance. Most chose to participate, though, because in the current environment, the management has all the leverage. Anybody who leaves journalism right now will probably not find a way back in.

“‘I don’t feel like a winner even though I still have my job,’ said Ernie Garcia, a staff writer who covers Yonkers who credited his management with being straightforward and honest throughout the process. Still, he said: ‘I wish there had been a straight-up layoff. This was very nerve-racking and agonizing. And everyone in our business has to live with this uncertainty going forward.'”

Read more here.

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