MediaFile

A new journalism career path: mailroom

November 19, 2008

I usually believe everything I read in Editor & Publisher, but this one seemed almost too good/horrifying to be true:

When a newspaper cuts its staff, those who remain in the depleted newsroom become valuable. But as The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. slowly says farewell to 151 newsroom folks who took buyouts last month, at least two longtime journalists have been reassigned to the mailroom.

Reporter Jason Jett and Assistant Deputy Photo Editor Mitchell Seidel have been filing, sorting, and delivering mail for more than a week, according to sources.

Jett and Seidel, who could not be reached for comment, apparently declined to take one of the buyouts offered this fall as part of a companywide move to cut costs.

Wow. Going from the newsroom to the mailroom? There may be a bright side (You don’t have to deal with unwanted PR pitches and screaming editors anymore), but it kind of requires a philosophical attitude adjustment.

In any case, I wondered if maybe it was a joke so I checked with my friends at the paper. It wasn’t a joke.

It was after reading the E&P story on the Romenesko journalism blog that I came across another gem, this one also on Romenesko. Check out this excerpt from a Westword blog entry:

Staffers at the Longmont Times-Call recently received an internal e-mail inviting them to work as valets at a private Christmas party for the Lehman family, who own the paper. And at least two employees have already accepted the offer.

The party honors Ed Lehman, who’s currently in his 51st year as the Times-Call’s publisher, and his wife Connie — and Dean Lehman, the paper’s editor and president (and Ed’s son), says valets are needed because many of the guests are elderly and may need a little extra help.

As Jim Sheppard, a wonderful former editor of mine, once said: There’s no job too small in journalism.

(Photo: Reuters)

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