A laid-off journalist’s lament

Chris Powell, a former staffer at Rogers Publishing, has written a guest column for Masthead Online about his new status as an unemployed journalist in Canada. Powell was one of about forty staffers laid off at Rogers on April 22.

Powell writes:

“Sadly, we won’t be the last publishing employees to ponder such things. Not as long as legacy media companies continue tossing journalists overboard in a futile attempt to staunch their losses. The situation is dire: Ad sales have cratered and, despite bold assertions to the contrary, may never fully rebound; the web continues to siphon away readers daily.

Yet these are problems that cannot be rectified by firing journalists. We are a publishing company’s best asset, and its point of differentiation.

“Innovation” had become the unofficial mantra at my former company in recent months, so I find it ironic that management resorted to such unimaginative means of cutting costs. I don’t begrudge it, but I don’t agree with it either.”

Powell writes about the broader media problems of today, but also about the personal experience of being out-of-work and dealing with future career prospects.

“I played angry punk rock at an ungodly volume (the duo of Minor Threat’s “I Don’t Wanna Hear It” and Fear’s “I Don’t Care About You” can be quite cathartic), had a long, leisurely breakfast with my wife, and picked up my son at school. He’s a little confused dad is suddenly home, but delighted nonetheless.

I could get used to this… if it wasn’t for the mortgage…”