Friday, November 05, 2004

Depressing reading

I occasionally dip into Jim Romenesko's memos postings just to see what some of my old haunts and friends in the business are up to. (It's nice to see the memos don't change that much; adds a bit of stability to my life.)

But as I was reading today, I was struck with how truly depressing the latest group is. It does start with an upper -- Len Downie's memo to the staff announcing Phil Bennett's appointment as Washington Post ME. To quote: Phil presented a clear vision for the future of the newspaper as it faces great journalistic and readership challenges. With the ability he demonstrated to make vision a reality in international news coverage, he will be a good partner for me and a strong leader for the newsroom at this important time.

Cool, and best of luck, Phil.
But scroll down a bit, and there is this skein:
Reuters memo on editorial moves ...
NYT memo re closure of TV production facility ...
CNN president's memo on the closing of CNNfn ...
Dallas Morning News publisher on layoffs and DMN editor on "a day of sadness and pain" ...
Dow Jones CEO on the end of FEER as a weekly ...
San Francisco Chronicle publisher on cutbacks ...


All this since Oct. 20. They, of course, are populated with the required phrases:
Inevitably, major moves like these will be disruptive to many people's professional and personal lives. ...
Sadly, the remaining staffers will be leaving NYT-TV after finishing their

current projects. ...
In the meantime, I know you will support your colleagues as they bring CNNfn to a close and shift to new roles. ... (at least this one indicates they will continue to have jobs)

etc.

In recent years, I've begun to always tell my students they should gird for the likelihood that for at least part of their career they will freelance or face a period of unemployment. Of course, the looks on their faces shout, "What a rube!"

Combined with the latest depressing news from the University of Georgia's survey of mass communications and journalism graduates (stagnant salaries, barely more than half of the 2003 graduates employed full time), it's a message I hope they -- and all of us -- begin hearing.

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