Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another round? No thanks.

Yesterday the newsroom had another round of layoffs. This time Greenspun Interactive suspended publication of two community newspapers that work in connection with the Las Vegas Sun. Everyone surrounding my cubicle was let go. Those people helped me and taught me how to cover courts, city council meetings and crime scenes.

I was on assignment at a preliminary hearing, so I didn’t know they had left until I arrived at the office around 5:30 p.m. Their desks were empty and the newsroom was quiet. It’s normally quiet, but not like this. Everyone is walking around like zombies and worrying about their jobs. I don’t blame them. If I wasn’t doing an internship, I would be just as worried.

Having to see amazing journalists let go because of advertising sales is harder than I thought. I’ve been told for the last five years that the newspaper business is in a slump, but I guess I didn’t recognize how bad things actually were. Now I see talented individuals losing their jobs and it makes me scared. Some people in the newsroom have said that the worst is yet to come. I hope it’s already over.

The thing that sets the Las Vegas Sun apart from most newspapers is its online presence. The print edition of the Las Vegas Sun answers the question why, but the online gives you breaking news and answers all of the other questions. My fear is that the economy is going to push the Sun’s Web site to reflect the print edition.

We’re running low on having enough people to update the Web site, and the interns are taking on a more active role. This is a good thing because I’ll learn more by stepping into the shoes of other journalists and trying to keep their beats afloat. I can step into their shoes, but I’ll certainly never fill them.

I have two semesters left until I graduate. I’m determined to find a job in journalism, but I can’t help but ask myself “what if I get fired?” Where will I go? Are you just supposed to pick up and leave? I can’t even imagine the heartbreak some of people who were let go yesterday are dealing with. It’s something you’ll never know until it happens to you.