Numbers don't lie. The Columbia Journalism Review says newspaper ad revenues are at 1965 levels and several newspaper companies have already reported declines of 30 percent this year.
That doesn't exactly bode well for the few friends I have left in the newsroom. And that's where part of this nasty dichotomy comes in. On one side, you have me, the laid-off journalist. My skills are updated, so I'm not on par with the common VCR repairman, and although I've been doing freelance PR, I have a dilemma. I see journalism jobs on Journalismjobs.com and the deceptive come-hither eyes of features and entertainment jobs in faraway places beckon me.
Even when I was employed, I'd check out the jobs because it's amazing how certain newspapers in places like Casper, Wyoming and Truth or Consequences, New Mexico advertise themselves.
You can't beat a description like: "we are just a short seven-hour drive to Yuma, and when the sun goes down, the scorpions go away and you can go outside and walk your dog. In the early morning, you can have breakfast with Lou, the town historian, who will tell you that Wyatt Earp once hocked a loogie here on the way to Los Angeles."
I used to scoff at these descriptions. But after between six and eight nights drinking in someone's garage in one month, I start to wonder if this Lou dude is a football fan and if there are cheap apartments in that small town. Hell, seven hours to Yuma isn't bad. Right?
Then it hits me: the ax will likely fall on me again in a few years and it'll travel back through the vortex into a land of teaching Digital Cable to family members and helping my father build a shed the size of the Taj Mahal.
Survival in these tough times ain't easy. You have to stay focused. Aware. Keep networking. And when your mother's cleaning lady comes on Mondays, high-tail it to the mall. Someone needs to throw quarters in the damn fountain.
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