Monday, October 20, 2008

Gathering after D-Day

Some commenters today have suggested meeting at an establishment on the day of layoffs and nursing the raw emotions with food and drink.

The idea would be that any fallen colleagues who came would eat and drink at no cost. The hope was that commiserating may provide temporary relief. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Exes, buyout alums and 1027s, would be welcomed as well.

One idea was meeting after work at the bar at Founder's Grill and lasting until all hours. It is walking distance from the Dallas newsroom on the first floor of the Hotel Lawrence.

For those who organize such a gathering, we will gladly advertise your time and location on this blog. Contact therockoftruth@gmail.com to provide specifics.

20 comments:

mortreport said...

Let's not forget that "after work" means 11 p.m. or later for some people.

We're all in this together, even if our paths don't often cross.

Anonymous said...

Has there been another delay?

Anonymous said...

Back on the "Delayed" thread, Anonymous said...

The root of this really started in the mid- to late '80s when they unsnapped newspaper managers' skullcaps and inserted the word "product" between the gaps and figured they'd be all right.

When the rest of the paper joins the FUN-FUN BUNCH in Editorial and becomes the Dallas Morning Blog, maybe some of us could start a publication that offers basic journalism. The public won't know what it has till it's gone, of course. But I bet we could get Jim and Robert to sell us one of the presses cheap! They should have taken advantage of the fire sale at Reunion: "Buy one of our presses, get a Zamboni at no extra cost!"


What many of you don't realize is that there are tens of thousands of readers out there who desperately want a newspaper.

They just don't want the crappy newspaper you work for, with its bizarre focuses of special interests and disinterests and its pseudo-, mostly crunchy conservative editorial opinions that can be dismissed like the naive child's urgent babblings they are as if they never mattered whenever the publisher wants his opinions to dominate, and they cannot wait for it to die. Which of course it will very soon.

Instead of whining and feeling sorry for yourselves, the first thing those of you with the contacts and the smarts to do so should do when you gather for drinks is to plan how you will provide that desperately longed for replacement.

Quit being such whining peasant sheep and do what you claim you are so good at doing.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, in most cities there are probably now more former mainstream journalists than currently employed ones. Aren't there investing angels out there who would support the startup of a lean, focused alternative to channeling the cops' and courts' press releases? Without the giant buildings and giant corporate salaries, the fourth estate could thrive again.

Anonymous said...

In the event I'm laid off, can anyone tell me if it's better (cheaper) to take COBRA. Or can you find any deals by shopping around for private insurance? Isn't there some kind of group insurance plan for freelancers?

Anonymous said...

Cobra is expensive - often costing $540 per month for single individuals. Blue Cross/Blue Shield has an individual plan that costs about $380 per month with a $1,000 deductible, $480 with a $500 deductible, and $600 month with no deductible.

Anonymous said...

This blog was started by and for DMN journalists and recent alumni who were laid off in 2004 (the 10/27s) or the '06ers, who took the buyout two years ago. The blog is meant to share tips and hard-earned wisdom. And maybe some venting -- and by God we've earned the right. To those readers/commenters who aren't DMN journos or alumni, cut us some slack right now. We're hurting and we are trying to offer comfort, solace and support to each other. We didn't get to this point in our careers without a little steel in our spines. If you want to read our blog, that's great. If you want to comment, that's great too. But if you want t call us whiners, welll then listen up: There's a parking lot where I'd like to meet you and where we can talk face to face, if you know what I mean (and I think you do).

Anonymous said...

To the insurance poster: Many, many thanks for the clear-cut info. That's very helpful. I'm still wondering if anyone's heard of group plans for freelancers?

Anonymous said...

There are also some group plans offered by college alumni associations. I know the University of Texas Exes has one. The Society of Professional Journalists also offers group plans. I have no idea what the cost is or whether it's cheaper than COBRA.

Anonymous said...

Dear Hater:
Do you boo Santa? Does bile taste like an Orange Julius, only more tart? Are you from Philly?

Read slowly now, I want to give you some inside information on journalists. They have a tendency to whine when faced with the impending loss of a career that means something to them.

Isn't that what people do at Radio Shack or Raytheon or D Magazine, or wherever it is that you work or worked?

Ok, you can go back to talk radio or feeding on dead zebras.

Anonymous said...

To get back to the point of the original post -- a gathering -- thanks, MortReport, for the reminder that not all of us work 9-5. Any chance this gathering may still be going on when the nightsiders (those few who may still be employed) break free?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping conversation on track.

Should there be more than one gathering to cover all bases? One for day shift and one for night shift?

Anonymous said...

Media Bistro's AvantGuild also has freelancers' insurance. Info: http://www.mediabistro.com/insurance/national.asp. I have not tried that plan. But it's good to know what the options are.

Anonymous said...

Founder's bar is open until 1 a.m. Wednesday-Saturday. (I called over there.) Is that late enough? Should there be a second venue?

Anonymous said...

Could be end of week....or longer. that's the word I've heard.

Anonymous said...

Founder's times: Should be late.

News on layoff timing: Tell us more!

Anonymous said...

How about: We day people will get the party started around 5 that day. Then ... are you, blog admin Rock of Truth person, able to make a post from your mobile phone to this blog? You could post an update to the blog to let nightsiders know if the party migrates elsewhere or continues to rage into the night at Founders. Nightsiders can check the blog before their shift ends. Unless they know someone who's already at Founders. Then I guess they could just pick up the phone.

Anonymous said...

As far as COBRA goes, choose to keep the COBRA. It's expensive, but you can cancel it at any time, and the time flexibility gives you a chance to arrange for another policy. It's easy to switch insurance providers as long as you remain covered by a plan, but if your A.H. Belo plan lapses before you complete the paperwork for whichever new group/policy you pick, you may run into trouble getting coverage for pre-existing conditions, etc., and things become much more complicated. The extra couple hundred dollars it costs to keep COBRA for the first month may actually end up saving money by keeping your premiums lower on your new plan.

therockoftruth@gmail.com said...

Someone asked about The Rock sending mobile updates for the afterwork D-Day gathering. We are not in a position to do that unfortunately.

On a different note, a journalism professor from the University of Richmond in Virginia by the name of Robert Hodierne sent an email regarding a survey he is conducting for American Journalism Review. He writes that he is seeking input from people "who have left newspapers in the last 10 years under circumstances other than voluntary (buys outs, lay offs, paper closings, etc.).

"I could use your help spreading word about the survey. A link to it is on the homepage of AJR.org. The results will be in the February-March issue of AJR and the raw data will be available to anyone who wants it. Because there's no way to compile a comprehensive list of affects newspaper people spreading the word via sites like yours is our best hope of reaching and hearing from lot of people."

Anonymous said...

COBRA costs were about $400/month in 2004. (The layoff was 10/27/04; we were given health benefits through 11/30 -- a little over a month -- and then you had to begin COBRA, although the deadline to elect for COBRA gives you a little extra time, but of course any medical visits in that interim would be in question regarding payment.) Obviously, if you have a spouse or partner on whose group insurance you can ride, do that. You can also purchase individual insurance, often cheaper than COBRA, but you get none of the group insurance protections -- i.e., pre-existing conditions can be held against you, you can be dropped, and I believe you are more vulnerable to some of the insurance nightmares we've read about, where you forget in your application to list that you went to your doctor for some headaches a year or two ago and suddenly they don't cover your emergency brain surgery. Not a problem if you retain the group coverage.

Also, there's some quirk to when you find new employment where they may want to see that you had insurance within the past so many months or weeks (sorry, I can't recall), and this makes it easier to get on a new group policy. I think it may help prevent any "pre-existing conditions" issues. After I left an employer, I received a letter that said, "This certificate is evidence of your prior coverage. ... Under a federal law known as HIPAA, you may need evidence of your coverage to reduce a preexisting condition exclusion period under another plan, to help you get special enrollment in another plan, or to get certain types of individual health coverage even if you have health problems."

BTW, COBRA benefits are available for just 18 months, unless there is a disability or some other special circumstance.