Even Getting Shot Can’t Save A Journalist’s Job

Filed under: Lousy Ingrates

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You know times are rough for newspapers when taking a bullet for the company isn’t enough to save your job. One St. Louis reporter knows that all to well—at least, he knows now.
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According to RiverfrontTimes.com, Todd Smith, online editor for the Suburban Journals, sister paper to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, thought possibly he was being called in for a meeting because he’d won an award. After all, a reporter at the Post had won one for coverage of a shooting at a local city council meeting without being shot. 

While covering the city council meeting, Smith wasn’t so lucky. In just a minute and a half, a gunman with a .44 Magnum killed five people. Smith was shot in the hand, the sole survivor among those who’d taken gunfire, including the mayor.

Two hand surgeries and over a year later, Lee Enterprises, the company that owns the Journals, sent Smith packing with a host of others. Thanks for taking a bullet for us; you’re fired.

Layoffs at the paper were expected and rumored, but Smith was surprised to find himself among them also because he was part of the paper’s online presence. Most journalists being laid lately worked on the print side. A tip beforehand said the “creative department” was being outsourced, the second round of layoffs since the previous fall.

A quick look at Lee Enterprises’ website, though, shows the company appears to be doing just fine. Headlines at the news releases section show all kinds of good news: a Pulitzer, corporate awards, and “continued growth of print and online audiences.”

Other releases show a company riddled with debt while struggling to refinance. Whatever the reason, it’s pretty clear taking one for the team just isn’t what it used to be.   

Even Getting Shot Can’t Save A Journalist’s Job
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