Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Newspaper Buckles!

Let me begin by telling you my story. I was laid off from AT&T Cable Advertising in South Bend Indiana in 2001, when they sold my Photo Clasified Channel to the Warner Brothers Network. The sale was a deal sweetener to sell the entire South Bend cable operation to Comcast.

Six years later I make a phone call to the old office, checking up on my employment references. To my astonishment, the only person left at the South Bend Cable Advertising office was the office manager. No, not the General Manager, the office administration manager!

Comcast completely cleared the slate when they bought the cable operation, I was only the proverbial "canary in the coal mine." Now everything at South Bend is controlled out of Indianapolis.

Now, Back to SPFLD and the State Journal Register.

BlogFreeSpringfield.com reports that some top managers have resigned. My guess is that editorial control is going completely electronic and remote. The local material will probably come from some "good" local freelance writers.

Local divisions such as the Business and Food section appear to already be using more nationally syndicated material from outside the community, and local artists, writers and photographers appear to be utilized less.

The shift in ad space toward the big multinational clients, especially pharmaceuticals, is attempting to appeal to an older audience of newspaper subscribers. There might even be a shift in the types of investments that get more attention in the business section. More like television these days, daily and weekly print media outlets serve only themselves.

At the cable company, I found out my channel was going to be sold by reading about it in the newspaper, over a month before I was supposed to get my two-week termination notice. Out of kindness I stayed and kept the operation going until the very end. My boss told me I helped bring in $500,000.00 in annual revenues.

The only benefit was a mild severance package and unemployment insurance. If I had resigned, I would not be in a position to bargain for anything. And I'm sure neither was anyone at Michiana Cable Advertising when the Comcast tsunami hit.

Everyone I knew there is gone. They were pretty good friends and I miss them, but when I was laid off, they treated me like a Leper. I’m sure they regret it now that they realize the precariousness of their own employment security. How is your job security, my media friends?

Now I extend an open invitation to those emancipated from the Illinois State Journal Register: Come hither and build SPFLD.net, we the media outcasts shall take the Internet, and overcome the mainstream corporate behemoths!