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And Speaking of (Phantom) Job Opportunities …

April 17th, 2008 · 1 Comment · Sports Journalism, The Sun

In the post below I note that the “Employment Development Department” (actually the unemployment office) wants people receiving benefits to check with “at least” three prospective employers per week.

And this isn’t news to anyone in the greater Los Angeles print journalism market … but the nation’s No. 2 media market doesn’t have enough serious journalism companies to enable someone to spend even a month making calls, looking for jobs.

Because Dean Singleton bought every “suburban” newspaper in the market, with a handful of exceptions … there really is no significant print job market in L.A.

These are your options:

1. Singleton/MediaNews.

2. Los Angeles Times

3. Orange County Register

4. Riverside Press-Enterprise

5. Ventura County Star

And we’re about done.

This represents a massive diminishing of job prospects in the L.A. market.

Even 10 years ago, a print journalist looking for work could check in with another dozen reputable newspapers. Among them: The Long Beach Press-Telegram, (Torrance) Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, L.A. Daily News, Whittier News, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, San Bernardino Sun, Santa Monica Evening-Outlook …

I know journalists of my generation who have worked at four, five, six newspapers — and never left the L.A. television market.

A journo had options back then. You could burn a bridge, run afoul of an editor, get sick of a commute, find yourself dead-ended … and you could just pick up and jump to another paper, probably without even having to change apartments/houses.

Alas, the market shakeout …

The principal issue here is Dean Singleton buying up so many papers. He owns everything (or what’s left of it) mentioned in the list above. And you can’t really move around inside the LANG gulag. For sure, you can’t jump to, say, the L.A. Daily News or hold up their offer to, say, San Gabriel and wangle a raise.

So, the real options … aren’t realistic options for most of us.

1. The L.A. Times almost never hires writers/reporters from within the market. You can leave the market and come back to LAT … but you don’t go there directly, with rare exceptions. LAT will hire the stray already-local copy editor, though. There’s that.

2. And, anyway, LAT is shedding staff, not adding. Same as the OC Register.

3. The Riverside Press-Enterprise isn’t hiring. It’s hanging on fairly well as the last (and smallest) “full-service” newspaper (In the sense that you don’t have to buy LAT to have a sense of the day’s happenings, both foreign and seriously domestic.) But how long can they last as the industry implodes?

4. Ventura recently offered buyouts, for the first time. And it’s not exactly a major metro to begin with.

Not only are the options of an out-of-work L.A. print journo limited … there is simply no way the surviving outlets can absorb the hundreds of people being pushed out of the business, in this market.

So … my “job search” in the traditional daily print market, for the unemployment folks, is going to be perfunctory. And short.

A few of us eventually will get back into the biz through connections or competence … but the rest of us will have to reinvent ourselves. At weeklies, at magazines, at websites … or in some other line of work.


1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Hank // Apr 19, 2008 at 3:34 PM

    To be fair, if you’re throwing in the VC Star, there’s the Santa Clarita Signal and the Antelope Valley Press. Both small, independently run, penny pinching papers, although the AV Press has impressive prep coverage and they occasionally have the sports editor drive “down below” to cover an occasional game in Los Angeles. The [Temecula] Californian, the Southwestern Riverside County imprint of the North (San Diego) County Times, is also another paper in the greater Los Angeles DMA, as is the Victorivlle Daily Press, owned by the same people that own the Register.

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