Surviving a round of LAT layoffs

There was a time when my job as a reporter made it dangerous for me to blog my feelings about work, life and myself. During this time, I launched an anonymous blog, the address of which was made available to very few people. I was careful about my words, opting to go as generic as possible when it came to blogging about my life as a print reporter so my posts couldn’t be traced back to me in any way. I’ve since stopped posting on that blog, but in a way, I feel like some of those posts need to be published publicly, to fill in any holes for people who have not been with me from the beginning.

This past week, I’ve been riveted and dismayed by all the news of layoffs and buyouts going on all around me. It seems only appropriate this week to share an anonymous post I wrote the day of the first round of layoffs at the Los Angeles Times in 2004.

Posted June 23, 2004, 1:19 a.m.

OK. I suppose that, now I’m not the police reporter, that I can divulge the company for whom I work for. I’m still not going to put down my name or the name of the paper I work for, because I can just see a Google search picking it up and a lawsuit being slapped on me for defamation. I’m going to do this because I cannot write about the last few days without explaining that I do work for the Los Angeles Times, which is owned by the Tribune Company in Chicago. Whew, there I said it.

I feel as if the sky is falling down on me, with all the things happening within the last two days. The latest thing to happen was for a friend of mine in the Bay area to tell me her boyfriend dumped her because she argued with his father about gender roles. How stupid. Working backwards, I found out that the division heads that I work for are asking my city editor to put in her resignation earlier than she planned for grad school, that one of my best friends lost his 23-year-old sister to a yet-unknown heart complication, that two of my division’s weekly newspapers was being shut down and all their employees laid off (including a friend of mine from college), and that the editor in chief and enterprise reporter from my paper was included in the layoffs. It’s a lot to deal with, and here are my initial reactions:

  • I feel really bad about my EIC’s layoff, especially since he was ordered to clean out his office and leave the building by 3:30 p.m., right after being told he was being laid off. I didn’t like my EIC or the enterprise reporter and I complained about them a whole heckuva lot, but I would never wish for anyone to lose their job.
  • What could I say about my best friend’s loss? I was at a loss. There was truly nothing I could say, since I’ve never lost anyone close to me. If there was anything these last two days have taught me, its that I should thank God for all the things and people I still have in my life.
  • I’m irritated about the division heads kicking us while we’re down. Our city editor really keeps the paper together, but they want to take her away even sooner than planned, even though we’ve just lost two others already. Eck.
  • This whole experience is making me realize I need to kick my new job search into high gear. It was already started, but damn. If my EIC could lose his job, I’m just a fly to swat.

One thought on “Surviving a round of LAT layoffs

  1. Ronnie Pineda

    As a pressman for the Los Angeles Times, I wonder how these Chicago high wage earners and Sam Zell plan to operate a newspaper when they are sending writers and presspersons away in droves?

    No one to write, no one to print, no newspaper to sell, no customers to advertise for or subscribers to buy our product.

    It’s not hard to figure out that it’s not entirely the internet’s fault that we are losing everything.

    The newspaper industry isn’t dying, inept management is murdering it!

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