LocalNewser standupkid's dispatches from the frontlines of local news


Doesn't Matter Who You Are, How Long You've Been There, What You've Done: Peabody Award Winner Shown the Door in St. Louis

LATEST LAYOFFS:  KMOV/St. Louis reporter John Mills would seem to be the kind of guy a station likes having around:  hard-working, good in the field and as a fill-in anchor;  and a journalist with credentials:  A Peabody, and Edward R. Murrow Award, and, just last fall, the local "Riverfront Times" named Mills "Best Reporter."  He seems the the kind of guy you build a strong bench by keeping in the dugout.  Oh.  Except, these days local TV station are playing baseball with one marquee name, maybe, and a smattering of little leaguers willing to play pro ball for very little money, and agree to clean up the stands after the game.

Mills lost his job this week.  After thirteen years at KMOV, he was laid off, and his award-winning bio got the traditional trip into the local news memory hole.  Mills, though, had a few thing to say, via his personal website, and amazingly, the guy took the high road (just like Andrea McCarren, and Randy Price, and Carolyn Gusoff, and Jay DeDapper...) "if any St. Louis companies or organizations are interested in a loyal and dedicated employee, I would very much appreciate their consideration," he wrote.  "I'm not bitter.  In TV, this was an incredible run."

Too bad companies like KMOV (and WJLA, and WHDH, and WNBC...) aren't willing, able, or interested any longer in "loyal and dedicated" guys like John Mills.


Caught in the "Perfect Storm" of Local News Layoffs: WNBC's Gusoff Embraces Uncertainty

It takes guts to talk about being laid off, and Carolyn Gusoff's got guts.  The longtime WNBC/NY Long Island correspondent's sharing her feelings (something we local tv types usually bury under layer upon layer of sarcasm and bitching) about losing not just a job, but an identity:  "There is the emotional cost of unemployment. Parties have become a form of torture. I used to love to discuss my work. Now the conversation opener, "And what do you do?" leaves me at a loss. "I am, I was, I ... um ... and what do you do?"

Carolyn Gusoff

Gusoff's column in Newsday is unusually revealing for our breed (we didn't end up on the asking-the-uncomfortable-side-of-the-equation for nothing) as she describes her impersonal layoff and the humbling experience of applying for unemployment compensation:  Applying for unemployment was still a harrowing and debasing ordeal. The 15-minute online application repeatedly ended with an error code, and the automated phone line cut off just as I was getting to the finish line. It took two entire days before I finally hit pay dirt: "Your claim has been submitted." I later found out that the New York State computerized unemployment insurance system had crashed because 10,000 new applicants per hour, myself included, were trying to register for benefits. I clearly have company."

Sadly, she certainly does.  So many of us are now finding ourselves caught in what Gusoff describes as a "perfect storm" of changing viewership habits and declining revenue leading inevitably to widespread layoffs.

Read Gusoff's entire story here.