Reunited Never Felt So Good

by meganrozsa on September 16, 2014

In just eight days, the greatest event in the name of journalism and friendship will occur: Kelly and I will be reunited for the first time in three years!

That’s right. I’m a volunteer at the Online Journalism Association’s 2014 conference in Chicago, and Kelly is the volunteer chairwoman. Together, but also separately, we’ll be attending sessions all about journalism. Check back for a report from the sessions I attended after Sept. 28!

So how did we get separated anyway? Well, I got a job at Patch.com and left The Morning Journal in March 2011. I moved from Broadview Heights, Ohio, to Fairlawn, Ohio, which was farther away from where Kelly lived. She stayed on at The Morning Journal for a while before moving to Colorado. Once she moved, I was still too poor (journalism, am I right?) to go see her and vice versa.  I’m pretty sure Kelly lives in Wyoming now, but I can’t be sure because her Facebook check-ins really confuse me.

We’ve obviously stayed in touch this whole time, and I’m hoping there will be a video of our epic finally reunited hug (she said she got a GoPro for a wedding present).If there’s not a video of our hug, there will be a video while we’re at ONA. So stay tuned. You know how these videos go. They’re hilarious!

Love,

Megan

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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.

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How to Survive a Layoff in Journalism (Part 1)

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 […]

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Sneak preview of what’s to come

May 17, 2013

I am using TimelineJS to create a timeline of events related to Daft Punk, as they have a new album being released next week. As part of that interactive timeline, we are giving the audience a playlist. Tweet

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Experimenting with crossword puzzles

May 8, 2013

Holy new blog, batman! So in my new role as Chief GSD Officer within the Project Thunderdome features team, I have a lot of roles. On the fun side, I have been experimenting with building games for our audience – it’s engaging, has a shelf life and is fun. My latest topic? Celebrity. This one […]

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Emmy live blog from LA

September 23, 2012

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Training post :)

September 18, 2012

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JRC files Chapter 11 bankruptcy

September 5, 2012

Before reading this post, full disclosure: I have been with the company for going on three years. Today Journal Register Company, the company which owns The Morning Journal – where Megan and I both worked – has announced it is filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The announcement was made this morning and just as the news was […]

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We really should blog more, eh? (a reflection)

September 5, 2012

Things have been crazy in our lives. And I keep doing some cool stuff and I keep thinking about how I should blog about them – but I just don’t. I don’t know why, because I think I have something to offer. But alas, let’s just end the ramblings and do something about it.  I can’t […]

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Another live blog test

September 4, 2012

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