July 5, 2008

Are bought-out, laid-off journalists unemployed?

Quick question as new employment figures posted: Do the bought-out or laid-off get counted?

The more I study employment and unemployment figures, the more confused I get.

If you are getting ongoing payments, does the government consider you employed? What if you took that "salary" as a lunp sum?

Are you counted as unemployed if you don't register with the state or use its job hunting tools and search on your own?

Can I count my job as affected by NAFTA if the copyediting is done in India?

Can i take the summer off and then look? am I counted as unemployed?

How do I work past retirement age if too many seek too few jobs?

How many multimedia consultants does the world need today?

Just asking .


Forget death watch. Send help

As the tally of those formerly known as newsroom employees grows, I want to know where are they all going and who is helping?

Forget Death Watch Forget the Papercuts showing me where the layoffs are.

No, don't forget, but get me help please.

Show me the checklist of what to do after I get the.notice, then next, then next, then next.

Where is the transition guide from API, Poyntner or SPJ?

Where is the foundation-funded program tapping the resources getting away?

Where are the university journalism programs offering retraining for their graduates? Or showcasing the new places to use the skills learned on the way to a journalism degree?

Where are the retraining programs like the ones offered the autoworkers and othersin manufacturing who lost their jobs?

Do we apply for unemployment? How can we save our houses when the market is so low? Can we get financial aid now for the college student based on our new incomes and not last year's paycheck?

There is no need for editors if books are not selling. The novel won't pay today's bills.

Or perhaps what we need is a look at who really is leaving the newsrooms.

And tell me why new journalism programs are turning up, why new graduates enter the workplace already saturated with folks with 1 to 40 years experience?

Why am I told how wise it would be to work past retirement age of 66 when the jobs disappear?

Blame mass production for media illness?

There is one photograph marking my grandparents wediing. It was taken at a studio, days after the actual event.

A friend has the output of the disposable cameras that sat on each table at her wedding reception. More documentation comes from the album from the professional photograher, the official videeo, the donated video and snapshots from friends and family.

My grandmother left us photographs. Two books showcase her life before 1957. Another show us the 1960s - that vacation aith a plane ride from Detroit to Las Vegas takes up a page.

Today some fill a whole book documenting each vacation.

At funeral homes, we share stories in rooms decorated with boards full of photographs while videos let us hear the dearly departed and see highlights of the life ended.

Do we need a printed newspaper to document our lives and our deaths anymore?

Do I need to pay more to tell those who already were there?

Indeed, do I need that copy of the newspaper with one photo of a presidential candidate in my town when I have so many more photos that I took?

It was an email then text messages that alerted me of the upcoming visit - the admission tickets were gone by the time a story was printed in the newspaper.

We upload our photos and want prints back in an hour.

We pick out the best, write a few words and get a printed book back in 10 days for $29.95 plus shipping and handling

Is it now cheap enough, fast enough that anyone can tell and share the stories of our lives?

Just asking. Just mulling.

July 3, 2008

Buck up, be a man, Billy

So who apologizes first?

I suppose it will have to be the one whose hitting the stone wall over and over.

Surely this wasn't the plan - let one bad decision spill out this far?

Still, it is the breaking of the pledge to be direct that stops me, unsure how many would see the attempt to reconnect. Or perhaps the fear of your silence.

This is not the first time you dropping me on a Facebook has come up in a interview for a project. Still it stuns and makes me wonder why that detail is mentioned.

Blame drugs. Blame need. Blame me.

I said the wrong thing in an attempt to be funny, to lighten the mood.

I miss sparring with you. I miss your insights. I miss your promise that Facebook was fun, not a part of our professional relationship.

I hear my grandfather suggesting that I buck up and face the consequences of a smart mouth. I hear Michael reminding me that a life of "no regrets" is impossible.

And I resist the temptation to click on your face when it comes up in the "People You Might Know" on my front page.