John Paton tells the journalists at Thunderdome that we no longer have jobs. An amazing group. I’ve been honored to work with them.
I learned a long time ago that news was a tough business. I learned it before I watched the death of the Des Moines Tribune and before I experienced the death of the Kansas City Times. I learned it before I was fired as editor of the Minot Daily News and before TBD imploded. So I wasn’t surprised when the ax fell again today.
I’m exploring (and interested in learning about) opportunities in the news business and beyond. But I don’t know yet what my next stop will be. Here’s what I do know:
- I’ve enjoyed my time with Digital First Media.
- I’m deeply grateful to Jim Brady, Jon Cooper and John Paton for the opportunity to work at Digital First (and Journal Register Co. before it became DFM).
- I leave with no regrets.
- I knew the risks in 2011 when I went to work for a company owned by hedge funds. And I knew the risks in 2012 when I turned down an attractive offer from a family-owned newspaper company to stay with the company owned by hedge funds.
- Anyone who says Thunderdome failed is wrong. As I said about TBD, you can’t fail unless you were given a chance to succeed.
- I will do everything I can to help in the job searches of my DFM colleagues who lost their jobs today. These are extraordinary journalists who will provide great value for their next news organizations.
- I wish all the best for my DFM colleagues who will remain with the company. We’ve worked hard together and come a long way. I hope that the company prospers and that this is the last cut. I’ve enjoyed working with them and know they will continue doing great journalism.
No denial or sugarcoating here. I don’t agree at all with today’s decision to cut Thunderdome or with the company’s new direction. But neither of those calls was mine to make and I’m not going to criticize them or waste time discussing them. I’ll post some links here to coverage of what’s happening at Digital First, but won’t comment on the accuracy of the reporting or the insightfulness of the analysis.
As I’ve said before, bitterness is like wreaking revenge on yourself. I’m too busy looking for my next opportunity to dwell on how this one ended.
The Newsonomics of Digital First Media’s Thunderdome implosion (and coming sale)
Digital First plans layoffs
Digital First Media’s Project Thunderdome on chopping block
We need to keep experimenting in journalism
In another blow to local journalism, Digital First Media to shutter Thunderdome
Update: I should clarify that I was given my notice Wednesday, not fired immediately. My last day is July 1, if I choose to work that long.
About my blog name: Yes, I have a ridiculous blog name. It’s temporary, and it’s for a good cause.