Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu, Layoffs and Much Much More!

Dear Kate,

What-to-do-with-yourself-itis is plaguing me as well over on this side of the world. Although I am trying to fill it with random tasks.

By now Swine Flu fears have swarmed North America. I don't know if real cases have hit Dubai. The U.S. is definitely on alert. Our local CVS is out of surgical masks. Even the neighbor wonders if she should be nervous with her two young children.

I went out an bought a few extra cans of soup, some Mucinex and tissues. Today I'm going to buy some antibacterial stuff as well, but I'm trying not to think too much on it. Still, it's a diversion from the economy — and hey, it's getting me to buy stuff.

However my sense is that even with worries of a pandemic, the recession is still playing front and center. Sure most of the media outlets— as well as the government — are trying to make it seem as if the downturn, while not exactly over, is not in free fall anymore. But my own profession continues to be decimated, practically daily.

Yesterday a site I have written for in the past, Portfolio.com, was shuttered along with its print magazine. And so more fellow reporters, editors, Web producers and so on now are on the street looking for work. My husband, who covers the media as a reporter, IM'd me and said one bright spot is that one less magazine means less competition for dwindling advertising dollars. True. Which could mean some jobs at other magazines may now be safer. But I feel pretty sad for the layoffs.

For one, I know many of them are scared of being out of a job in the middle of this environment. But most of all, it's truly upsetting to watch my profession be beat up like this. I know I'm witnessing the ending of this phase of journalism. And I know the next phase will come. People need — and most importantly want — news, stories, entertainment. People crave information. But to make money at creating that?

Our mentor Clay Felker launched one of the great glossy magazine in New York called, New York. The Prince and I were talking last night about what he'd focus his editorial eye and energy on today. Would it be a paper product? A newspaper or magazine? We don't know.

The Rabbit is starting to write stories of her own. And while I can't help but feel so proud when one of her twisted fairy tales (!) was singled out in the class and passed among other teachers, I also think — hmmm, how are her math skills? Maybe a doctor might be a better line of work to pursue.

I know many parents look at their own paths and think, 'Oh, this is not what I wish for my child.' And then of course I know that to steer a child away from what they are hearing inside themselves is not just foolish, but dangerous. So I think to myself, if The Rabbit is to become a writer like her mother, and her father, then maybe it's up to me to help push my field into what will be the next road for future writers to travel.

No, I have no idea what that will be. But when I head outside today (in 90 degree heat!!! ugh) and buy some cleaning products maybe the idea will finally hit me. Or maybe I'll buy a magazine, and at least try to keep one person employed for one more day.

Love, Lauren

1 comment:

YLM said...

Hi Lauren, Alpha got me to buy in stocks of Tamiflu today (available over the counter here, at least for now). Don't we live in an odd world? K xxx