Advice For Those Considering the DMN Buyout

Here’s the deal. You don’t want to leave the paper. You love newspapers. You love your job. When you’re at a dinner party, and someone asks what you do, you say something cool like, “I cover government affairs for the Morning News,” or whatever. I get that. Important people give you a knowing nod. Relatives beam with pride. Young ladies seem impressed, because what they hear is, “I’m a writer, and I’m working on a novel that, if you play your cards right, will include a character loosely based on you.” Plus, you feel like, in some small way, you make the world a better place. All that is a given, it’s true, it’s understandable.

But you need to ask yourself something: Why would I stay? If the answer is, Because I’ve got a mortgage and kids and no retirement, let me say this: Welcome to the club. Let me also say this: That’s not good enough. Because there is some dumb young kid five desks over who works for half of what you do, and that little moron strongly believes she is on a mission. She will work day and night for $32K, do so happily, never complain to her boss, and wants desperately to have your job. So unless your passion is equal to hers — actually, given your age and your salary, it should be greater than hers — then you need to see this as the beginning of your new adventure. Go. It’s scary, but it’s the right thing to do. Strangely, it will all turn out well. How? I don’t know. It’s a mystery.

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Comments

36 responses to “Advice For Those Considering the DMN Buyout”

  1. Tim Rogers says:

    Yeah, this new “a picture with every post” edict is going to go over well on FrontBurner. Eric spends two minutes typing, then 15 searching for just the right smartass pic.

  2. Eric Celeste says:

    Just keeping this man happy.

  3. dumb young kid reporter says:

    Ditto

  4. Long Memory says:

    Truer words were never spoken, er, written. It compares favorably with Yankee Stadium and New Yankee Stadium. The former is The House That Ruth Built. The latter just happens to be on the same site. Newspaper journalism is really dying and what makes it so infuriating is that the journalists will be gone while the executives and consultants will still be rich. There will still be newspapers, er, Information Delivery Platforms, but the journalism will be in the grave. A few years from now, the journalists will be glad they’re outta there, and if there really is a God the execs will look around and ask “How come we don’t have anyone who can write anything longer than 12 inches of type?”

  5. Rawlins Gilliland says:

    Actually, although I believe (and lived) every word Eric wrote, I also believe (and know) that it isn’t that simple. It was for me in ’98. I did exactly what Eric says to do and what followed (after a chasm of uncertainty and disappointment regarding professional loyalty, etc.) was by far the best years of my life and careers.

    BUT.

    I was (sorry) ‘smart’ enough to have an afforable house that I had paid off rather than trading ‘up’ when the big bucks were crossing my palm. And my responsibilities to those who raised me…aka parents….had already ended…they died. And those who needed braces and-or schooling, as in Masters degrees, made it through. But if I had a 30 year mortgage on a $325 grand house or even a $210 grand home with two kids under 14, I’d probably cling by the tip of my nails until they bled. It’s called health insurance and God knows a ton of other reality checks…not in the mail.

  6. ExDmn says:

    She’s making $32K?

  7. sneaky says:

    “It will all turn out well.” Easy for you to say. God help you — and these people who have life-altering decisions to make.

  8. Eric Celeste says:

    I guess I should have added I’m assuming you’ve been looking for another job for the past five months.

  9. Jason Meyer says:

    Good advice… Just be sure to tell them that the local PR agencies are not hiring. We’re in a recession, too!

  10. Ed says:

    “Shakespeare In Love”?

  11. News Junkie says:

    Got news for you: that young reporter is not making that much less than I. Some school districts pay more than my salary for a first year teacher and I’ve been here for a long time.

  12. Jay says:

    Eric, isn’t that the plot to “The Devil Wears Prada”?

  13. Jay says:

    Damn you Ed. I took too long on IMDB I guess.

  14. publicnewsense says:

    The Morning News had a habit of hiring new people at a rate that exceded salaries of current employees. So, your salary guess is wrong.
    I can’t believe people aren’t irate at the company management. This is beyond the current industry problems. Ut’s so easy to convince suckers that management is merely going with the flow of the industry.
    That’s not the case in this town. Look at the profits. Stock may be down, but so what?
    The big check still comes to the heirs.
    Remember this Dallas Bz Jrnl report:
    “About $4 million in ‘retention and special bonuses’ is being paid to five of A.H. Belo’s chief executives, with the president of the newly minted newspaper company tapped to receive $3 million.”
    Life isn’t fair, but it doesn’t have to be so rotten.

  15. Towski says:

    Down with the photo mandate.

  16. Burning Down The DMN House says:

    Management in newspapers are
    on a slow ride down a slide
    to no profits. They are just
    holding on to a failed business, with bias reporting, and people now see what they are putting out isn’t what the public wants.

    Adios DMN, I just can’t wait to say that about
    Al Dia next. That way using “adios” will be more fun to use.

  17. Bethany says:

    Thanks Mike/Jr.High/Not An Old Person/Burning Down the DMN House

  18. Wolverine says:

    Always Remember,

    Old people read newspapers.
    Old people are the newspaper’s audience.
    Old people die and so do newspapers.

    Nuff’ said.

  19. Jr. High says:

    Thanks for what?

  20. Naughty By Nature says:

    Live blogging is fun. Well, about this whole DMN thing, just stop worrying and bust a move to the unemployment line.

  21. Eric Celeste says:

    Thank you, Towski.

  22. News Junkie says:

    Magazines are not faring all that well, either. Whatever happens you may be next.

  23. Centerfold says:

    I like a photo mandate.

  24. Peterk says:

    ‘Go. It’s scary, but it’s the right thing to do. Strangely, it will all turn out well. How? I don’t know. It’s a mystery.”

    I’ve been laid off twice and am now working for my 9th employer in 30 years. Each new job brought new challenges; moving across country, commuting up and down I-95, learning new schools. and so far it has turned out well

    I follow the Yogi Berra rule for career paths
    “when you come to the fork in the road, take it.”

    http://members.localnet.com/~n2moa/images/Berra.jpg
    now how can i post a photo with my comment?

  25. Someone Else says:

    A word on that young employee who Eric thinks wants your job:

    No, she doesn’t. It’s the young people who are leaving newspaper newsrooms the fastest. They don’t have houses/kids/roots here. They can afford to pick up and go, and they are.

    To grad school. To travel the world. To jobs at which they can use their IT skills without being constantly quibbled with by managers who know far less about online than they do. Jobs at which they’ll make more money.

    The people who are stuck are 50, with kids in high school and college, and bills to pay.

    They’re also newsrooms’ old pros, and you’d think newspapers might actually value the depth of their news-gathering experience.

    They’re not making a fortune, especially in Dallas and Fort Worth. And especially compared with their top editors and corporate bigwigs.

    But yeah, they’ll be the ones slashed.

  26. Long Memory says:

    Burning Down’s note up above about retention bonuses summoned up a question or two in my mind: Where might those executives go? Who might want them? In a dying business, all they’ll have to offer is the evidence that they can get off a sinking ship. But that might not work next time. Besides, aren’t a lot of those people family? Old Man Dealy would probably take a lot of his offspring to the woodshed if he were to come back today.

  27. amandacobra says:

    @ Someone Else

    Agreed.

    Young-ish people who don’t own their homes and can live on $32k a year and don’t have kids are the ones who have some breathing room. They also are the ones that, though their first love is probably journalism, have enough tech knowledge to be able to find some shelter in the boring recesses of corporate world if need be until the carnage is over.

    Those 5 years or so from retirement can take the money and run, no problem. Might not have been how they thought it was gonna end but not a huge disaster.

    For those that are middle aged with ‘tween/teenagers, mortgages and roots who went to college for this, interned for this, envisioned doing this back at their high school newspapers, have devoted probably 15-20 professional years doing this and only this…..this is very bad.

  28. Filth and Fury says:

    Working for a company from when you’re out of college to death is over. That era in the business world is over. Companies don’t want loyalty because they can let you go or lay you off anytime. Workers don’t have loyalty to companies, because of this hiring and firing mentality. I am not bitching. Just expressing the business world is different now.

  29. jrp says:

    right on, Filth and Fury

    with at least 30 more years until seriously thinking about retiring to Boca, i fully expect to have at least four or five, if not 10 more employers

    sad as it is for many DMNers right now, sometimes you have to see the opportunity in disaster and just jump off the cliff, which of course, is hard, if not impossible, for a lot of folks

    and dragging your feet only ends up hurting you. case in point, i think the DMN was offering a $10,000 “bonus” to qualified employees that took the last round of buyouts or the ones before that and that number is just $500 this time

    could be wrong, but i think i heard that somewhere

  30. Young Dumb Kid says:

    “Because there is some dumb young kid five desks over who works for half of what you do, and that little moron strongly believes she is on a mission. She will work day and night for $32K, do so happily, never complain to her boss, and wants desperately to have your job.”

    -Very True! And we have no mortgages or daycare bills so we’ll wait it out.

  31. ex-Lois Lane says:

    It took me 10 years of late nights and BORING stories to make $32K in the late 1990s and, when I did, many of my journalist friends were jealous. When I left full-time journalism five years later in disgust over what the profession had become, many of my journalist friends were even more jealous.

    Get out while you can.

  32. Someone Else says:

    Dear God, ex-Lois Lane. It took you 10 years of late nights to make $32K? Who were you working for? Even DMN pays better than that. Trust me.

  33. TakeTheFreakingBuyoutAlready says:

    Great post, Eric. So very true. I left the DMN three years ago, and just like in 2006, I am once again counting my lucky stars that I made that decision!

  34. ex-Lois Lane says:

    A series of small dailies all around the country, including in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. And, sad to say, pay rates have not improved that much. DMN and Star-T are the exceptions, not the rule.

  35. Snotty-tot says:

    Despite being a harsh critic of their biased reporting, I do still grieve for folks who lose their jobs and the collateral damage. It’s the management that needs to be packing.