Tuesday, December 2, 2008

When the Ax Falls Twice

"Both of us?" I sputtered.

It was all I could say when the publisher of the Missoulian, the daily newspaper in Missoula, Montana, quietly told my husband and me that we were both being laid off, effective immediately. The publisher praised our performance and told us that the decision was based on seniority. No matter our combined 50 years of experience – we were the newest staff members.

It was a Wednesday morning in late August, and our biggest concern heading into work that day had been finding a way to carve out time for more in-depth stories. Now, suddenly, we were unemployed.

Layoffs have become sadly commonplace in the newspaper business. But never had I imagined this scenario.

I could envision one of us going, but editor friends who've been in management positions during other down cycles said they have never cut both members of a husband-and-wife team.

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