Any thoughts on Tony Jackson? What, the sports media guy not having any thoughts on sports media? Or is it that management said “mums the word?”
— A comment left by someone named “earteaga31″ on a blog posting Friday, which had nothing to do with the post itself.
And how are you supposed to respond to something like that?
Let me sleep on it another night. Tony would understand.
Another collegue is asked — told — to give up a spot on a team that they love playing for, pack up his stuff, and go home. But first, come to HR and sign some paperwork. Then you can leave. Hope that Cobra insurance helps you with all the Prozac you may be needing over the next few months.
Dear emailer: There’s nothing holding back the survivors of this pending shipwreck from coming out and expressing more remorse over the fact that the people who we aim to please most — the readers, especially those who’ve stuck by us for years and years — continue to find a product that’s just not the same as it was a week, a month or a couple of years ago.
Nor is there anyone telling us not to talk, write or cry about another person on the staff who was let go because … there are many reasons, they tell us. As if throwing more ballast overboard will keep this life raft from taking on more water.
Our Dodger guy, Tony Jackson, doesn’t have to worry about killing himself any more trying to get you information. Those who decide such things have given him freedom to pursue other options.
The most frustrating feeling by those of us employed in the L.A. sports media, as we come to realize there is now only two reporters fulltime on the beat covering the Los Angeles Dodgers — and one of them works website only, for MLB.com — is that the reader gets, by far, the short end of this deal.
And we’re all the worst for it. OK? Thanks. Now go back to hiding behind your anonymous commenting about the world around you.
Thanks for the mentions. Good things happen to good people. Not that you would know.
P.S. To think they let go of a quality columnist like Steve Dilbeck and kept the likes of you. No wonder the Daily News is on life support.
— An email from a Southern California media member, whose name was withheld to respect the privacy of the correspondence and the embarassment of the statement, after last February’s annual ranking of the best and worst of the L.A. media.
It gets tougher and tougher, and sadder and sadder, each day to love something that doesn’t want to seem to love you back.
Or to even accept emails from those like the ones above without wanting to fire something right back, return the punch. As if it will make things better.
You take a deep breath, scratch your head, consider the source, and move forward.
Or try to, at least.
Those of us left paddling in a circle, as it sometimes feel, feel like our lifejackets keep slipping off our shoulders. We huddle up, as a good team does, and try to figure out how to tie a rope to each other and make survival last a few more weeks. Because no matter when you think that last tidal wave has come, there’s another on the horizon.
Meanwhile, don’t miss deadline, find something interesting to write about, and get those photo assignments in a timely manner — granted, if there are photographers left who can work with you on that story.
Our jobs aren’t that much different from yours, really. Hopefully, you still have one. If not, we feel your pain, anguish, fears and frustration.
Those of us still working for the sports section are here because we want to be. And we’d have wanted it more if those who we worked with on a regular basis were able to stay as well.
The sports section is very much a team project. We help each other with resources, bounce ideas off each other, argue, agree, argue more, see something that’s a great story and try to figure out how, as a group, we can cover it best.
When those pieces of the team continue to leave — either voluntarily, because it’s just too hard to take another punch in the but, or by reason of financial reality — it makes the team project even tougher to commit to. Team players, whose who are willing to do more than just cover one beat that they were hired to do in the first place, become those asked to stay, for their versatility.
Because, for example, they can copy edit one day, write another, and help try to console departed members the next.
I’d throw up a few more well-intentioned but much-uninformed emails at this point, very similiar to the ones above, but I’m hoping you get the message by now. This is supposed to be a teaching moment, not one lamenting the mortar we have to avoid from our foxholes each day.
We grew up reading the newspaper sports section for all it had to offer. We see it now, and while it can still serve up some great information, opinions and basic information, all of which can also be found on the Internet for less than 50 cents a read, we try to understand, as a co-reader, why this doesn’t make sense.
We’re not good business people. We’re sports writers. We accept the rather low pay (despite what you may think) and what few perks there are (again, despite what you may think) for the fun of working for the reader.
What does the reader want? We don’t think of you as the consumer, or “what will sell” (again, despite what some may want you to think). We want to write about things you’d enjoy reading about.
If you see it in the newspaper, great. If you find it on the website and are able to link to more resources, even better.
If we could figure a way to do that, and keep our jobs, even better.
Because as soon as another one of us is told by someone in the management position that, unfortunately, we can’t afford to have you on our team any more, we go back to becoming just a reader instead of a contributor. And, as a reader, we also wish we could read more and find better stories to entertain and inform us. Just as we remember back in the days when we’d look forward to the newspaper arriving on our driveway with a thump.
The internet, and blogging, is an amazing resource to keep people informed as quickly as possible. The newspaper’s sports page can be the place for stories that compliment and suppliment that immediate medium of transferring information. But not if we don’t have enough players left on the team.
We’ll keep trying. Believe us. We’re in this for the good, as well as the bad.
We love this job. We keep grinding and try not to whine so much.
It’s just tougher, every day, to feel like we’re spending most of our energy and focus on things that just shouldn’t be stuff you need or care to worry about.
We’re not going down without a fight. We care about it too much at this point to throw up our hands and just walk away.
Just so you know … or is that too much information?
Comment here or at firstname.lastname@example.org.