NBA writer Mark Heisler, a 32-year veteran of the LA Times, was among those laid off last week, and he’s taking it in stride. In an essay published today on Romenesko, he reflects on the newspaper’s skill at shedding employees:
I got the bad news last Wednesday in Ocean City, N.J., on vacation.
These days, worse things can happen to you. My friend, Dan McGrath, the former Tribune sports editor, was told in person–then frog-marched out of the building by an escort, presumably to keep him from getting to his computer, downloading the next day’s budget and selling it to the Sun-Times.
So, getting told over the phone was OK with me!
Five days later, I went downtown to turn in my company ID, laptop, Blackberry and American Express card. Unfortunately, my ID card no longer opened gate in the parking structure. They had already turned it off, along with my access to the Trib’s virtual network, my email account and, of course, health insurance.
I should point out that, believe it or not, I’m not angry about this. At 67, I was only going to work one more season and they just gave me the whole thing off, with pay, through April.
All that notwithstanding, I’m sitting in my car, behind the closed gate, marveling at the company’s efficiency, thinking, ‘If only we were as good at newspapering as we are at dumping people….”
The LA Times newsroom has lost over a third of its staff since 2007. Very efficient indeed.