Monday, November 24, 2008

Crazy Days

Things have been happening in the @Lactose & @SparklyJem household in the last few weeks that have made me, frankly, reluctant to blog.

As many of my mates and casual readers will know, I work for a large newspaper company (DMGT) and have recently moved to another division within the company (Northcliffe Media Ltd.). I have a new manager, with new priories, and (seemingly over night) Northcliffe Media has now decided to make a number of people redundant, of which I'm one. I'm currently going through the motions of justifying my place in the company and justifying what I do (i.e. New Media Specialist in an ever expanding online market).

Yes, I know, this sounds crazy considering a big chunk of the future for the newspapers is gonna be online/video journalism (just ask the BBC). Add to this the redesigns, plans, scoping, wire-framing, and full-blown ongoing projects that we're thick in the throws of, but it's a crazy time which clearly calls for crazy measures. I'll reserve my opinions here, pending final decisions, as to why I was one of those chosen...

I've stopped counting (at 3480) the number of British jobs lost in the past week, with big companies in print media announcing wave after wave of fresh redundancies just prior to Christmas. I work just a couple of desks from Hold the Front Page, the local journalism news site, so get to hear all the numbers first hand (and they at least seem busy). It's not pretty. The Daily Mail and General Trust says it's gotta cut 300+ positions (6%). Jobs are going all round at Northcliffe, especially in the regionals, and they are closing the Grimsby print works and splitting the load between Derby and elsewhere. It's not a good time to be job hunting either, no matter what ya industry.

I like my job. I like it a lot. It's interesting (for a 'futurist type' like myself) and I get time for research and experimentation. It's a rare thing (outside education) to have a remit that allows you to constantly look at new ways to gather and deliver the news, plus I've worked with an awesome team for nearly 6 years making some top draw Webby and BAFTA winning sites.
The 'original 3 of us' still sit together on one desk. Frankly I'd rather not go back to just SEO or video, but might just have to. I've got a lot of strings to my bow and I know this industry (and new media) pretty damn well. If things go badly I'll miss this place, and my mates here, one hell of a lot. I'll also probably miss having a roof over my head and solid food.

So, please excuse the lack of posts (see the constant barrage of Twitters for updates). I'm taking my mind off it by hitting the gym, smiling through, but speculatively cruising the agency sites in the evening and picking up more lecturing. Not much time for virtual worlds, alas, but trying to tidy stuff up there professionally just in case (please don't worry about our ongoing projects, I'll personally make sure everything is properly covered in SL etc. if the shit hits the fan).

@SparklyJem is being a star (as ever), and has a new round of costume and jewelery workshops up if you're interested. Everyone has been very kind around work.

I'll know more next Monday (in a week) when I have my next meeting to discuss all this and 'present my case'. There's a long process to go through here, and I have no intention of "going quietly into the light".

My CV is here, if you're curious. I will work for bandwidth.

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