Monday, July 6, 2009

More of the same old story

Happy Monday. I hope you all had a good Fourth. Couldn't go out to fireworks Saturday night because the Jewish Sabbath ended about 9:30, a half hour after New Haven's fireworks party started. Ah, well. Next year, it's on a Sunday, so we can have the same fun.

Well, well. About 20 minutes after I posted my blog entry saying Al Franken should be confirmed as the senator-elect from Minnesota, Norm Coleman, the one-term sitting senator who had been appealing the vote count, finally packed it in and conceded.

I didn't realize he read the Lens. (Just kidding...unlike some, I not that conceited.)

More of the same...

My former employer, the Gannett Corp. has announced 1,400 more layoffs from its approximately 42,000 international staff members. Most of the layoffs will come this week, the company has said. Many experts say Gannett will have to file for bankruptcy protection in 2011 because it will not be able to meet its obligations to bondholders,

All the layoffs will come from its Community Newspaper Division, which means that USA Today staffers won't be affected. I guess it helps to be in the same complex as the executives.

The folks at the Journal-News in Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties of New York will have to wait until August to find out how many of them won't be working there when the buzzards leave Hinckley, Ohio, for the winter.

I've been through this layoff business a few times. It's a horrible time for the employees and their families who get the boot, but also is horrible for those who "survive." It's counterproductive for the company as well, since much of the workers' time is spent either polishing resumes, worrying or talking among themselves about the upcoming event.

It doesn't stop there. After the chosen ones have left, the "survivors" face a period of mourning and know the work is not diminished by the fact that fewer people are left to do it. The bosses' expectations are not lessened--if anything, they are heightened. So people who now are looking over their shoulders and are depressed by those empty desks now have to face larger workloads and more ridiculous demands.

It would be good to pin the need for layoffs on the bubble-headed bosses. After all, they created the situation in which the company finds itself. But you can't blame them for the economy's tanking and advertising, especially classified advertising, heading to the Internet.

They haven't found an answer to Craigslist taking so much of the classified ads, which were the backbone of local advertising revenue, but neither has anyone else.

I don't think I would recognize the place if I went back to Westchester. Much of the advertising design is being done in India. Personnel issues are done somewhere else. There is a television studio in the middle of the newsroom where Web casts are produced most days. I hear that isn't working out that well either, but that's hearsay.

The copy desk, which had designed and edited only news pages, now has to design and edit most of the newspaper's sections, plus weekly magazine-type publications, with fewer people than a couple of years ago when they only had news to worry about.

The top executives are still there in the newsroom. There's still an executive editor and managing editor and executive news editor. Same number of chiefs, just fewer worker-bees.

A few words

I suppose I should say a few words about Michael Jackson. Strange, talented, sick, driven, consumed. That's a few words.

Sarah Palin is another story. She could have had a big influence on the way this nation is run. She also is another one with many issues. Thank heaven the election came out the way it did. Could you imagine: the vice president rushing into John McCain's office, screaming that she is quitting because the press and those pesky Democrats were picking on her.

She didn't have much to say and spent a lot of time saying it. She didn't have any original ideas and spent a lot of time hawking old, in many cases bad, ideas. Her family is a near-perfect personification of dysfunctional. She is anything by a role model.

She's gone from the national stage, or soon will be. I hope the Republican National Committee realizes the bullet they dodged and allow her to sink into the tundra. Alaska is better off without her, as are the rest of us.

Until next time...

1 comment:

Indira said...

This is the first time I'm reading the Lens. I love it! Great work. Looking forward to more. Can I subscribe?
Indira, your old Gannett pal!