There’s a tragic irony in a recession writer falling victim to the recession. Such is the unfortunate reality for Lou Carlozo, a 20-year veteran of the newspaper industry who found himself on the chopping block this week when the Chicago Tribune announced it would cut 53 editorial staff writers. That’s about 11 percent of its staff – yet another sign of just how tight things have gotten in the newspaper world.
But as the paper cuts its staff, its parent company, Tribune Co, has asked a Bankruptcy Court to approve of $13.3 million in bonuses and other incentive payments to 703 employees.
According to the motion filed with the court, the Tribune Co. argued that these payments are “vitally necessary” to reward employees for a difficult year and motivate them during the current year.
Not to sound like a spoiler, but isn’t keeping a job – let alone one at a newspaper – motivation enough? How much more motivated does one have to be when they’re gainfully employed in a dying industry?
Couldn’t that money go to keeping some of its staff employed? Like the paper’s art critic who will now no longer be covering the Art Institute of Chicago’s biggest addition in its modern history.
Or maybe the recession reporter might be spared given the fact that the economy doesn’t seem to be making much of a turnaround any time soon.
The saddest part of this story is that after years of reporting for the Chicago Tribune, Carlozo wasn’t even allowed to bid a proper farewell to his readers.
One would assume the last blog entry was banned for being some sort of embittered kiss-off, but that couldn’t be any farther from the truth.
Instead, Carlozo wrote an eloquent piece touching on his love for newspaper industry and his gratitude to the paper that provided him the opportunity to reach out to readers through his recession blog.
I’m not sure why editors decided to remove Carlozo’s last entry, but it should not go unnoticed. Click here to read it.
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Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.