As al.com, The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times, and the Press-Register close shop September 30 and reform as a single company October 1, I will not be along for the ride.
I've kept the news fairly quiet up until now because it hurts. It has hurt for the past three months since I found out.
But as much as it stings, I'm not angry. I bear my colleagues and the new Alabama Media Group no ill will. The reformation they're undergoing is a bold and exciting one. I personally think that not only is it going to work, but that it will serve as a model for other news media companies. Advance Digital (the parent company of al.com/Alabama Media Group) is looking two or three years down the line and implementing those future ideals now.
|The al.com (then Alabama Live) staff from way back when.|
"Working on it," I replied, not bothering to add, "but my boxes aren't going to the new office; they're going home."
In all the talk of people at the newspapers losing their jobs in this transition, few have recognized the fact that some of us at al.com were affected, too. As I've slowly shared my personal situation with others, most have responded in shock. Quite a few times I've heard, "I can't believe they'd let you go!" And I appreciate that. But every time, I remind others that 400 people are being let go. I can't believe a lot of them didn't make the cut, either. At least I'm in good company.
al.com has undergone a multitude of changes since I started in 1998 -- from site design to expansion markets to the way we gather and report news. In fact, al.com is pretty much in a constant state of change. That's the nature of the internet.
|Alabama Live's company Statement of Values|
To my colleagues who are moving on to the new company with Alabama Media Group, I wish you the best of luck. I will miss working with y'all.
To those who won't have a place to work starting October 1 -- and between al.com, The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times, the Press-Register, The Mississippi Press, The Times Picayune, and nola.com, there are a lot of them -- you remain in my prayers.
To my friends who have reached out to me with job leads, references, recommendations, and prayers, you have my sincere gratitude. Keeping a positive outlook has been a challenge, and the support of my friends and family has been invaluable.