Monday, August 13, 2007

Moving On and Ahead

Hey gang,

This has been an incredibly hectic, incredibly stressful month, one that has shown tremendous ups and downs. It seemed like the picture changed by the hour and while we had plenty of discouraging days, we managed to survive.

While the layoffs, buyouts and bureau closings were a dark, sad time that took away good friends and longtime colleagues, they also served as a reminder of the fine caliber of people with whom we work. Rather than put other people out of jobs, photographers Jeff Goldwater and David Sprague, reporters Jim Skeen, Gideon Rubin and Eric Leach all chose to take the buyout and move on to other things in life. They're all longtime, dedicated employees and their selfless act in a tough time will not be forgotten. I'll miss working with each one of them, along with the other folks who've left, and can't thank them enough for all they've done.

For the folks who choose to stay and keep putting out the paper under challenging circumstances, as well, I salute you. The cuts and daily grind of the paper have whittled us down to the hardest of the hardcore, so for everyone who keeps fighting to keep this thing alive: thank you. I can't think of a better group of people to keep good quality journalism alive.

It was also gratifying to see that through all this that, in spite of the corporate pressure to make numbers, that people remembered the human toll. My old boss, Dan Anderson, called to offer support and passed along several job leads for the folks who left the paper. Ron Kaye handled the cuts with a level of sensitivity and care that went far beyond what his job demanded. And even Jim Janiga, the company's HR director who was once such a frustrating opponent, proved to be tremendously helpful in straightening out benefits and taking care of everyone.

Unfortunately, at the same time this brought out the best in some, it brought out the worst in others. I was furious to read the insulting comments of some anonymous poster on The Paper Trail who suggested that we should somehow be grateful to MediaNews for treating its workers so well and that this was a smart move to get rid of unnecessary coverage. Only the worst corporate hack would say such a thing and I was glad to see subsequent posters jump on them.

The shame of it is that this anonymous company partisan is not alone in their petty, small-mindedness. That's pretty much the corporate line at the moment, as we saw today in Oakland. Moves like that and the political infighting in the company will only drag us all down in the long run. In months ahead, we're going to have to join with our fellow workers throughout the company to fight back that short-sighted mentality.

And while I think that struggle will go on for some time, it appears that we've cleared our most immediate hurdle at the Daily News. Throughout all this chaos, you guys have performed phenomenally, producing sharp coverage in every section and a product that we can truly be proud of. While we have our occasional off days, I can honestly say that this is the best staff and best paper we've had since I started working here. You guys are truly an inspiration and it's a pleasure to work with you.

So please join me in thanking our friends who are saying farewell for everything they've done for this paper and the rest of us. While we may find ourselves working in different places, different towns and different jobs, we won't forget you and what you mean to us. And for those of you who are sticking around, congratulate yourselves for enduring another rough patch with grace. Situations like this bring out the best in us and you've all definitely met the challenge like champs. Keep up the fine work and thank you for everything.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be concerned that what happened at BANG is about to happen at LANG. Just as MediaNews was able to make the Oakland union vanish by subsuming it under the non-union Contra Costa newsroom, so too will the coming consolidation of LANG newsrooms put the Woodland Hills and Long Beach unionized staffs in the minority.

Then, with nary a shot fired, the unions will be defeated. MediaNews will be able to offer even poorer salaries and benefits than it does now.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the Post before said is right on!!

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh Brent but your blogs have sounded very accepting of what is happeing to you all. PUT UP A FIGHT!!!!!

Enough with the you guys are great people handjob sessions and thanks for taking it in the " A " so well good luck.

Band all the So-Call groups together and god forbid... do waht they are doing to you CONSOLIDATE!!!!! get some teamster or ILWU kind of deal going.

Don't get me wrong being positive in a negative environment is great but Jim ( 2% ) Janiga is a blow hard troll with an ego stop saying he helped ease when he cut you guys. He is the one who did the cutting.

2:03 AM  
Blogger Oxnard St. said...

To anonymous 1: fear not, we're well aware of the problems to the north and are working with our fellow union members there and locally to ensure that the same thing doesn't happen here.

To anonymous 2: Show some guts and put your name to the post if you're going to insult me. We're fighting just as hard as anyone to make sure our people are protected and a large part of that is ensuring we have a well-motivated workforce. We will not take anything lying down and we will succeed. Insulting people and mouthing off will get us nowhere.


11:27 AM  

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