Posted by: davepidgeon | April 1, 2009

A journalist looks at a job cut


Looking toward Mount Marcy from a rainy Algonquin summit.

Looking toward Mount Marcy from a rainy Algonquin summit.

The point to Jimmy Buffett’s “A Pirate Looks at 40” is that sometimes you can be born too late to become the man you wish to be; in this case a man just turned 40 who realizes that the opportunity to be a buccaneer has long since past. I’ve suspected the song is also about a lost youth spent smuggling and boozing and womanizing. “It’s never meant to last,” he says.

I bring this up because I think had I been born in 1959 instead of 1979, I could have had a long, fruitful, incredible career as a newspaper reporter. I may have been born 20 years too late. Yesterday, my newspaper’s chairman of the board and CEO entered the newsroom to say they would be merging our two newspapers and that reporting staff would be deeply cut. Under their criteria, I most likely won’t have a job. 

Loss of advertising revenue and the operation costs of running two newspapers forced the cuts. And with major metros and small community papers shutting down, there’s really no place for a print journalist to find safe harbor. 

I’ll have more to say much much later after this whole shebang develops. But as Alison and I wrestle with this on the eve of our wedding, we’re thankful for the opportunity to head to lower latitude numbers and Costa Rica. The situation adds a new dimension to our honeymoon, and who knows, maybe we won’t leave! Here’s the restorative nature of travel.

And Alison says to me this morning that it would be okay for me to go for a long hike should I get laid off. I’m thinking the Adirondack High Peaks because for four years, I’ve been bothered by the fact that I gave up on a backpack there. I would love the opportunity to try it, again.

But Costa Rica comes first. One thing sure to dominate my thoughts for some time will be how I’ve never seen myself as anything other than a journalist. Being one comes with an inherent curiosity, a healthy skepticism, an observers perspective as you watch life, culture, politics and the great events of our time from an objective grandstand. Nothing else but writing newspaper or magazine articles excites me as much. I probably can continue to build my magazine career, but I’m not sure how viable that is as a main source of income at this time. I’m going to have to find something else. But what, I just don’t know. Identity is going to get a thorough rewrite, I guess.

I hope these upcoming Costa Rican days will be the slowest 10 days of my life, joyfully meandering from night to day like Jack Johnson tickling his guitar strings.



  1. […] before his wedding his gallbladder decided it wanted to secede from his body, he found out some bad job-related news, and dealt with a painful dental emergency.  There’s no chance anything could go wrong for […]

  2. NEVER stop writing!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are very talented!!


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