Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Turnover, not the apple kind
Papers across the nation are facing drastic cuts and major staffing issues as budgets shrink, advertisers disappear with the weakening economy, and reporters either get laid off or flee for the increased wages and relative stability of marketing and public relations. There's also an increased demand for freelancers as larger chains lay off their full-time staff, and look for freelancers to fill the gap without costing them insurance or other benefits.
Our paper has not escaped unscathed from this cycle, despite being moderately more secure as the only paper directly covering our town. But the instability, and various other factors, have caused our staff to dwindle. Today the newsroom gathered at a local Indian restaurant to honor the departure of our long-time entertainment editor and popular columnist Jake TenPas. Some former reporters who have already gone down new paths joined us for lunch as we talked about the state of newspapers, the perils of freelancing, and the sadness of parting ways.
There are several empty desks in our newsroom now. One or two will be filled, most will not. We're making due with less, an apt reflection of the larger economy, perhaps, but an increasingly stressful and dishearteningly commonplace thing among dedicated journalists.