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American Journalism Review
Layoff Blues  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  Letters
From AJR,   February/March 2009

Layoff Blues   

By Unknown

I, too, understand what writer Pamela J. Podger is going through (First Person, December/January). I am a copy editor by trade, and after packing up my home and my husband, moved back home to take what I thought was a good job. After eight months, I was laid off.

I, too, have filed for unemployment and do that daily ritual of job hunting, filling out applications and getting few replies. I have less experience (six years as of this year) than they do but I know there's got to be something out there. Anything, just so long as it's steady and I can put food on the table again.

I wish Podger and her husband good luck, and I have a feeling things may open up in the new year. At least they will find something. Too many places would be stupid to pass Podger's experience by. Good luck, and thanks for sharing your experience. It's nice to know I'm not alone out there pounding the pavement for work in our beleaguered business.

Lyndsey M. Mosley

Columbia, South Carolina

I just read Pamela Podger's article about a husband and wife layoff at a newspaper in Montana. Her commentary about what this means personally and as a weathervane of the industry was insightful and distressing.

I am a former newspaper reporter who left the industry about 14 years ago to become a lawyer. At the time, it was an excruciating decision, driven mostly by growing dissatisfaction with a trend I saw toward poor management in newspapers.

This was coupled with the fact that, after about 17 years in the business and a master's degree from the Medill School of Journalism, I was still earning an almost insultingly low salary. Still, I knew I would never find a better job. Nothing is as great as hearing the stories of people at the center of the world's news events, big and small.

While reading Podger's article, I was struck anew with the dire condition of the industry. The choices that are being made to divest of veteran reporters and editors will take a toll on newspapers that will be felt for many years to come.

The integrity of the business is at stake, along with its future. Podger's insights, combined with the generally sorry state of the industry being highlighted each day, makes me believe newspapers as we have known them since the founding of our country may, in fact, be facing extinction. I am now grateful I got out when I did.

Anne Burris

Westfield, New Jersey



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