An ittybitty two- or three-paragraph story on the Vicad business page Thursday indicated that the paper was laying off employees and cutting wages for survivors. Newspapers are surprisingly reluctant to cover their own affairs unless it is to trumpet the little bogus awards that their associations deal out to themselves so everybody can claim to be a prizewinning newspaper. The observant reader will have noticed that the paper barely has enough heft to make it all the way to the driveway these days. Maybe the circulation dept will require carriers to put stones or oyster shells in the little plastic sleeve to add weight. (No extra pay for the work, of course, as everyone is expected to pitch in during tough times like these.)
The newsroom employees have been making sacrifices for years. most of the reporters when I was working up there were earning well below the salary for a first-year schoolteacher, and some bailed to become teachers, immediately raising their wages by 30% or 40%.
While I am making my appointed rounds as a Census employee, I knock on doors and engage residents. A lady I spoke to on Friday came doddering to the door and insisted she needed to sit down immediately. She said she was just out of the hospital, having suffered a stroke. She was also smoking away on a cigarette. You almost have to admire so profound a devotion to self-destruction.