I heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend that another media outlet in town is going to axe some more hard-working folks this week because of the GlobeEcDown (and thanks to the newest member of the Madison-area media, Christie Taylor of the Baraboo News Republic, for introducing me to that delightfully tacky abbreviation!). The rumor mill got to churning today that Channel 3 has scheduled staffing meetings for later this week, and around a half dozen people aren't expected to make it back from those.
Even when you're talking about a direct competitor, you never like to see a bloodbath in someone else's house. But in this case, Channel 3 is our "media partner," a concept that's helped understaffed newsrooms in radio and television stay abreast of all the news of the day by counting on each other to catch what might slip through the cracks. I've collaborated with a lot of the staff at 3, and I hate to see any of them catch it in the face.
If the rumors are indeed true, a few folks will pack up their desks this week in that already bare bones news room, and the harried remainder will be left to shoulder those work loads.
Then, for the next several weeks, the city's newsies will spend every spare moment looking over their shoulders for that axe it seems is chasing after every one of us. When meeting each other in public, conversations will begin, "Hey, how are you holding up," and end, "Well, good luck. Hopefully we'll see each other soon." Journalists will cross their fingers and hope that their numbers people, holed up late at night trying to eliminate the red in the budget, don't happen to glance over at a headline about media layoffs and get any bright ideas.
For once, I hope the rumor mill got it wrong.