I work for a small community paper as a writer/editor/proofreader. We’re a weekly, and I really enjoy writing stories about the area, putting together the calendar and coming up with content. I also helped to run the office, answering phones, taking classifieds, helping people at the counter, etc. The company employs four sales reps, plus me, and the owners (2 – married couple). One of the owners also wrote and edited a little, but was more focused on putting the paper together every week, plus taking care of advertisers, plus everything else. I’ve worked here for a little over a year, and really enjoy it.
I knew the paper was having problems getting advertisers, and ad revenues have been down since January. I also knew that the competition in the area was becoming more aggressive, and we’d heard rumblings another competitor was eyeing the market with a free paper to rival ours. Can you see where this is going?
Thursday (the 30th), there was a meeting called, and the owners told us that they had sold the paper to a major corporation – well, actually a subsidiary of a major corporation. They cried and apologized and were completely miserable about the decision. I totally understand it from a business point of view, but I feel completely betrayed. Even worse, the new overlords, er, I mean owners, have made us get rid of our office cat.
The “suits” came in Friday and stood around and drank Coke and ate donuts while I tried to answer phones, finish work on the next edition of the paper, and answer their questions. The former owners were there also, trying to get them up to speed on work flow, where we are in production, etc. I also had to fill out their employment paperwork.
All weekend I’ve thought about little else than this situation. I am terrified I will lose my job, that the new general manager will see me as a receptionist who wrote stories and want to bring in his own people. (He also oversees other papers in the area.) I’m also scared that the production of the paper will fall completely on me while “corporate” figures out what to do with the paper. They have assured us that the content will not change, and staffing will not change – but I’ve seen things like this happen before, and the corporation has a reputation for pushing the “old blood” out as soon as possible.
Sorry this is so long. I can’t eat, and I dread Tuesday morning. And I miss my office cat!