Hello friends,

As Megan mentioned, it has indeed been awhile. How have you been? How’s the family? We can skip past the formalities if you would like and get down to the nitty-gritty. Megan and I have both survived layoffs in journalism.

Megan summed up the emotional roller coaster that comes with learning about the dreaded layoff pretty well. Here’s my story:

I had been working with Digital First Media’s Thunderdome for three years. At the time, I was working with exceptionally talented people in many areas of focus – news, sports, data, video – you name it. I was doing it. I was focused on building relationships across the Digital First Media footprint, especially through the features desk. I helped build big projects, plan national live coverage to be aired across our 100+ websites, and I loved my job. I loved my team, and I still hold every single person I worked with in high regard. I also got to work from home in my pajamas on most days, so who doesn’t love that?

But then, rumors and news started trickling in. On April 1, Columbia Journalism Review posted this story to their online editions – announcing Digital First had planned layoffs. A huge ax was about to be dropped on Thunderdome, but at the time we only had speculation. Many of us had already begun looking for new jobs, considering the rumors we had been hearing. We needed a safety net. A parachute. The following day, Thunderdome leadership sat down with us – in person or via remote satellite, in my case – and explained we would be losing our jobs in either coming weeks or coming months. I was part of the first wave, with my last day being April 17.

I was heartbroken.
I was stunned.
I was nervous.
I was scared for myself and my amazing colleagues.

I couldn’t help but think back to November 2009 when I first started with the company. The people I met (including, but not limited to Megan) and how I had been with this amazing brand for so long and now it was all ending. Journal Register Company, and thus Digital First Media, took a chance on me right out of college when I was so green, and now it was all falling apart. I believed in Thunderdome and I still believe that had we been given a greater chance, we would have been incredibly successful and a beacon of hope for other large, yet struggling, print and digital organizations.

I was heartbroken. And I wasn’t the only one.

At times like these, it’s nice to be in an office when you can lean on the support of those around you, go for drinks after work to discuss the next steps and just be around people going through the same situations. I didn’t have that luxury. I was (and still am) living in Wyoming. Thousands of miles from my colleagues. I felt disconnected. And that didn’t make it any easier.

BUT, the people of Thunderdome are bad ass. Pardon my language – but they are. If I needed my resume checked out, I just had to send it over. A Facebook page was created to post new jobs and discuss where we are today. A Google group was created so we don’t lose touch. Everyone sent in their favorite “down and out” songs to keep the morale up and a Spotify playlist was made.

How did I survive my layoff? I had help. I had help surviving and that is critical.

It’s been about five months since I said goodbye to that job. I’m thankful every day I had that job and I met the people I have met and made the connections I’ve made. And I get to see a lot of them at the Online News Association conference in September!

So what am I doing now? Having fun and enjoying the summer. I am working in an industry not associated with journalism at the moment, which is OK. That doesn’t mean my journalism aspirations are over – not by a long shot. I’m getting married in a few weeks and it seemed silly to take on a full time position or new role, when everything about my life is somewhat changing. For now, I’m right where I need to be.


How to Survive a Layoff in Journalism (Part 1)

by meganrozsa on July 21, 2014

It’s been a long time. And when I say a long time, I mean a LONG time. So, hello! We’re back! And we’ve got some new content for you after one year of straight nothin’ (sorry about that).

So what have we been up to? Well, for one thing, we were both laid off from our respective journalism jobs. I know… GASP! The dreaded layoff. Yes, it is everything you fear it will be from the first inkling that it will happen until it actually happens. Stomach in knots, constant dread, panic, denial, loss of motivation, sleep all day, clean your apartment like mad because you don’t know what else to do, pet all the hair off your cat/dog, eat too much chocolate. Repeat.

And then the ax falls. You’re laid off.



At the time, I (Megan) was working for Patch.com as a community editor. I held a total of three roles in my three years at Patch. The one I loved most was being a local editor for Fairlawn-Bath Patch (don’t click that link because it’s nothing like it used to be and it makes me sad. It’s a link for SEO, tbh). But when I was laid off, I was recruiting bloggers for all 17 of the Northeast Ohio Patch sites. It was fun. I reached out to community organizations, PR people, politicians, and random people just asking if they’d like to please copy and paste their press release into a Patch blog. It created user-generated content for our sites, which was the goal of Patch in the first place. The editors filled it with newsy content and the bloggers filled it with the voice of the community. It was awesome, but it wasn’t making money. At least not in Northeast Ohio.

I was laid off on Aug. 23, 2013, after a week  of wondering whether it would really happen. I was in the first batch of layoffs in Ohio, the second came in October. We were all given a conference call-in where some British sounding person told us we wouldn’t be reporting for work the next day. It was sad. I was sad. I believed in Patch. If I had the money, I would have tried to start my own Patch up again (but who are we kidding? We’re broke).

So I had to live the laid off life, and I’m here to tell you that there is life after a layoff. And you know what? It’s pretty damn sweet. So to the meat and potatoes of this post: How I survived my journalism layoff.

1. Take the time to panic for one whole day. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to pout. And it’s definitely OK to stomp around your house throwing a temper tantrum. You worked hard! You didn’t deserve it! Why, god, why?! How will I ever find another journalism job?!

2. You good? Now realize that it had nothing to do with you. Nothing.

3. With a layoff comes a severance package. If you’re as lucky as I was, it’s a decent severance package. (I’ve never typed out the phrase “severance package” before. They’re literally severing your ties with the company! End revelation.) So rest assured knowing that you still have some money coming in.

4. With that in mind, take a few days to get your life back. Usually journos forget they have a life after working so damn hard every day (including weekends). You probably have some friends you forgot about when work consumed your soul. Find them again, have some coffee. Reconnect.

5. If you had any idea that a layoff was coming (like I did), start putting your resume out there ASAP. If it’s a total surprise, then put it out there when you’re ready. Set up job alerts on websites like Indeed.com, MediaBistro and JournalismJobs.com. These are great resources. Join tons of groups on LinkedIn related to your field and check the “Jobs” section. If you’re a member of some alumni group on Facebook, post in there that you’re looking.

6. Accept any interview that comes your way.

One of the great things about working for Patch was all the training we got. I didn’t realize it at the time (no one likes training at the time), but it really made me stand out among the other applicants. I had all these skills that I didn’t realize I had until I had to spell it out on my resume/tell the interviewer.

When I found out I was getting laid off, I immediately posted in my Daily Kent Stater alumni group that I was looking for a job. Someone got back to me within the day asking if I knew how to do social media. Heck yes, I did! I sent my resume, cover letter and clips to my now boss that very day. I applied before the job description was even written, and within the week, I was hired.

I am truly lucky that it worked out that way. And I couldn’t be happier. I love my job. I work as a social media manager for a group of B2B healthcare magazines that are based in Cleveland and NYC. I get to go to conferences and cover them live, and I’m learning about a topic that I didn’t have any previous knowledge of. I still get to write occasionally, but mostly I promote our editorial content on social media and help out with some marketing.

I am thankful for the training I received at Patch, and I miss that job every day, but I realized that it really was time for me to move on. Recruiting bloggers wasn’t my favorite thing. I was ready to be in the thick of it again. Planning and covering conferences is so fun. Live tweeting is one of my favorite things. And I love watching our social media following grow.

I smell another blog post about what I do now later on. For now, I’m signing off. Stay tuned for Kelly’s survival tips!




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