I can’t promise this will ever repeat itself, but after two-plus years of reporting pay cuts and staff slashing, Braublog has actually helped get a journalist a job. Caveat: it’s not in journalism.
So 12 days ago, I wrote “The Online Newsman’s Lament,” about Jeff Achen, who lost his web editor title (but not his suburban newsweekly job) after higher-ups determined this Internet thing wasn’t a moneymaker.
Over the weekend, I run into Jeff, who seemed especially happy to see me. I’ll let an email from Jennifer Ford Reedy, the St. Paul Foundation’s V.P. for Strategy and Knowledge Management, explain why:
I just wanted to let you know that we read your post about Jeff Achen, called to invite him in for an interview and offered him a job. He’s starting work for us January 4th as an “Interactive Media Strategist” working for the Foundation’s overall communications and for GiveMN. Thought you should be the first to know! Do you feel awed by your power?
Yes. Yes I do.
Of course, Jeff made himself recruiting- and raise-worthy; I was just the accidental messenger. This lesson, kids, is that even if journalism is a troubled and uncertain profession, acquire as many skills as you can while you have a job. They can always take the job away from you, but they can’t take your skills.
As a media critic who finds problems more interesting than good work audiences should expect, I sometimes feel bad about kicking an industry while it’s down. The feeling usually passes, but it’s hard to tell if the criticism ever really changes anything for the better. Therefore, it’s especially nice to be reminded that this writing stuff can positively affect people’s lives. Happy holidays.