Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I guess we made the right decisions

It's interesting that Tammy and I have this blog, in that its intent is to keep our friends and family who live far away up on what we're doing. But, for the most part, we're the ones who moved away from them -- me from the Phoenix area and Tammy from California (northern and southern).

It was job prospects that pulled us away.

For me personally, none of those decisions were easy. The first to move to Yuma, leaving my friends and family for a town none of us really thought much of, then for Flagstaff, leaving Tammy behind, and then for Reno, moving out of Arizona and no longer just a relatively short drive from all those close to me.

All the time I was gone I kept an eye out for getting back to the Phoenix area, specifically trying to get back to the East Valley Tribune. I had spent time there as clerk and intern and liked the people very much.

There was a pipeline of sports staffers who had come from Yuma, as the two are owned by the same parent company, and it just seemed like a more natural jump than to the Republic.

There has been just one opening in the sports department there since I graduated. I was offered a part-time position (w/o benefits) while that full-time spot was frozen for something like 4-5 months, but with no guarantee I could move into the full-time spot when it opened up. This was in maybe late 2004 or early 2005.

Obviously, I decline, choosing to stay with the steady paycheck.

I was again approached about a copy desk position at the Trib just prior to accepting the Reno position, but after discussing it with Tammy (as she was working out of the paper's Gilbert bureau) decided Reno was where we were headed.

It is very obvious now that we made the right decision.

The Tribune announced Monday it is laying off 142 employees, roughly 40 percent of its staff, in January as part of a complete reorganization and cost-cutting move. Nine in the sports department are being let go, including all of the pro and ASU beat writers.

Judging by what positions were kept on, I believe Tammy would still have a job if we had not come to Reno.

This is sad not only for those involved, people I knew and liked as well as many others Tammy knew and liked, but for the industry as well.

The Trib's cuts, which come after much smaller others a few months prior, come on the heels of cuts at the L.A. Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Star-Ledger (N.J.), Baltimore Sun, three Bay-area papers. As I searched for these, the list went on and on.

It its something gripping the industry, which is being hit hard by the economy and has yet to nail down a model on how to make money off the newspaper Web sites. Even here in Reno, there have been buyouts and a few axes since we've been here.

Don't worry, I firmly believe both Tammy and I are safe. But it has us wondering about being in the same profession at the same employer, as a couple Tammy was friends with at the Trib dealt with.

Scary stuff, but all the while proving we have, to this point, made the right decisions in our career paths.


Tammy said...

Well, you beat me to the blog. When we made the decision to leave Arizona last year, the Trib had a hiring freeze and had already gone through one round of layoffs. Many of my friends have left in that time, luckily by their own choice, but this news is very sad. When I started working there, I thought the paper was very competitive with the Republic. I always worried the changes they were making would make it less so. I hope the new model works, but it's hard to envision now. I feel for those who were let go, and those who will stay. It's going to be a rough road ahead for all of them.

Rox said...

It's very sad, and very scary, especially when you consider that a year and a half ago, the Trib had 700+ employees.

As of the beginning of 2009, they will only have a few more than The Sun does.

What that means for us is anyone's guess.

I just feel terrible for Mesa's employees, and Julie as well. What a tough position to be in.

Kat said...

When I read the article with some of the quotes attributed to Julie, my heart just broke for her. She's such a great lady ... to have to make decisions and be held accountable and keep your family together is a lot to ask.

I guess good thing Jeffrey decided to go to law school ...

volksbloggin said...

Everyone I know from the newspaper biz is saying the same thing: layoffs, layoffs, and more layoffs. It seems like my career in newspapers is over. Like Jeffrey, I'm looking into additional education and a career change.

jeffreydgautreaux said...

Law school is a great option for any former newspaper reporter because of all of the writing. However, you may hate your life for 3+ years. I think the smart play is to go back for an MBA here in a year or so. Then, if the economy gets back on track, which I sincerely hope it will, you'll be in the catbird seat.

alison said...

So call me slow...but I just discovered that I get to make comments... enough from you two ;-) Its my turn!! And at that...I'll keep it short and sweet...once I can get over missing having you both close by, I agree, you made the right decision. Miss you!