Another unemployed journalist

Farewell, dual-display Mac G5

As of 1:30am today, I am no longer an employee of The Gazette (a division of Canwest Publishing Inc.)

It happened so long ago that most of this blog’s readers probably don’t remember, but I was hired as a temporary, part-time worker at The Gazette in January 2008. Back in 2005 I was picked as an intern, and stayed on for an extra year on contract before I was let go the first time. When a vacancy came up a year later because of two parental leaves, I got an email from my old boss asking me if I wanted to come back. I didn’t hesitate.

The contract was supposed to last nine weeks. But it got extended, and extended again, and again. Finally, with the person I was replacing returning to the payroll, my contract wasn’t renewed past Jan. 31. The nine-week contract ended Sunday night at 105 weeks plus a day.

All this to say that the split is amicable (sad for both sides, but amicable). It’s not in any way related to Canwest’s creditor protection filing, nor anything I did. That said, it isn’t completely disconnected from the crisis facing media, and copy editing in particular (the Miami Herald yesterday looked at how many grammatical mistakes make it into a newspaper on a daily basis because of the reduced number of copy editors).

Though I’m obviously not happy about getting dropped out of my dream job, I’m grateful for the opportunity I got to live it for those two years. I want to publicly thank my colleagues, whose help, guidance and awful puns are what I will truly miss most about working there, and what I will most look forward to if I’m ever given the opportunity to work there again. I especially want to thank Assistant Managing Editor Katherine Sedgwick, who was my boss for most of my time there, and who emailed me out of the blue two years ago asking me if I wanted to come back. Her ability to judge character is obviously well above par.

As for my future, it’s up to me to write it now. I have no plans to leave the city unless some irresistible opportunity shows up. And my goal is to stay in the field of journalism. But that’s a tall order with everything that’s happening to the news media.

But I’m not thinking too much about that yet. I didn’t take a single day off while I worked at the Gazette, and so my immediate plans are to make up for that by taking it easy for a bit. My last paycheque doesn’t come for a week and a half, and it’ll include all the banked overtime I never ended up using. That, plus all the money I’ve saved up means I’m not desperate for a job right now, and I can take my time figuring out my next move. And spend more time with my family, I guess. That’s what the politicians do, right?

In the meantime, my loss will probably be your gain. I’ll have more time to blog about stuff. My browser is just about ready to burst with all the tabs it’s got open. I hope to clear some of that out and post some of the ideas that have been circulating in my head this week.

My relationship with The Gazette also hasn’t been completely severed. I plan to continue freelancing for them (notably compiling the Monday Calendar), and am exploring other opportunities, as they say.

Some people have asked if I would consider blogging full-time, monetizing this little experiment I’m running. I’d do it in a second if I thought it could be profitable, but I don’t think that’s feasible yet. I may change my mind on that depending on how desperate I get for cash, or how desperate people are to advertise here.

I certainly won’t be holding my breath for that.

Unless I can turn holding my breath into a job.

UPDATE: I’m really feeling the love, in the comments below and on Twitter. Unfortunately, I can’t trade that in for a career just yet.

34 thoughts on “Another unemployed journalist

  1. Chris

    Sorry to hear about your job loss. But when one door closes, another one opens. I’m sure you’ll do fine. Journalism is a tough game to play and playing it with the mainstream media is even harder. You’re a fine writer and I’m sure your readers will agree that in no time at all, you’ll doing what you love… and getting paid for it.

    Reply
  2. scottwgray

    You’ve got a great voice, yr a solid journalist and yr net savvy. Three great skills going forward, and I think some important things are starting to fall into place. You will too. Good luck.

    Reply
  3. Jamie O'Meara

    Not happy. You lent your former employer credibility by once-removed extension, and it served you both well, if simply by virtue of the fact that you have never once felt compelled to kiss ass with respect to anything you choose to cover here. While well aware of the reality of the times, I’d have still chosen to hope, naively it seems, that they’d find a place for someone such as yourself. Here’s to hoping someone has the wisdom and wherewithal to bring you back into the fold. Or at least cut you a big fat cheque once in a while so you can keep doing what you’re doing. I’ll devote whatever shreds of third generation Irish luck I have left to the cause… don’t hold your breath.

    Reply
  4. BruB

    Bonne chance Steve, je suis certain que tu vas te trouver quelque chose d’assez rapidement, je te conseil d’éviter Canwest, Astral et Corus :)

    Reply
  5. David Pinto

    I am clearly out of the loop. Who on earth is smek (see comment by David Chernofsky)? Or is smek a peculiar language used only by members of the Faguy family?

    Reply
  6. Castala

    I can understand what’s happening to you and how it’s affecting you.
    Both my girlfriend and myself lost our job, in a period of twelve months, when we were fired by our former employer in 2006 and 2007.
    And I know very well it’s not easy to monetize your work on the web, I had the same problem in 2008 while I was planning to start my own business.
    Take care, collegue, and don’t hold your breathe for too long.
    There are a lot of people who admire your work.

    Reply
  7. Steve Hatton

    Sorry to hear that Steve.

    BTW: I agree with David Chernofsky. You should definitely consider Google Adsense or Paypal or some sort of revenue stream for you blog (I assume that was what he was talking about).

    I know it’s not to my advantage to suggest these options, given that I’m a freeloader who likes to visit free websites, without ads, but I see you as one of the few people who has the potential to actually make money online.

    Reply
  8. JF Villeneuve

    Woah…

    You’ve got such credibility on the subject of medias in Montreal (and by extension, in Quebec and Canada), that I’m sure some organization is going to make a pitch for your journalistic knowledge!

    Keep on Steve!

    Reply
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  10. Huntley Addie

    Steve,

    I’m really sorry to hear this. But, I love how you’ve left. You’ve shown a lot of class in how you’ve handled it all. Things will work out.

    This was a dream job, now on to the next one — dream that is. Jobs come and go.

    I’m hoping that I can touch base with you next year, when I get back to school (teacher, John Rennie — taking year off to be with daughter) and I can bring you in to my journalism classes.

    I hope you’re still in town for that, and I hope you choose to touch base about it.

    Take care,

    H

    Reply
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