David Simon, creator of The Wire and former Baltimore Sun reporter, testified before Congress yesterday about the desparate state of the journalism business.
Back in the Baltimore Sun newsroom, about 50 newsroom staffers launched a one-day byline strike to protest "layoffs and heavy-handed tactics by owner Tribune Co." Those "heavy-handed tactics" would include the newspaper's laying off of three sportswriters and a photographer in the middle of covering a Baltimore Orioles games. Also on Wednesday, David Steele, one of those laid-off sportswriters, offered an account of the firing on RealClearSports.
Here's an excerpt:
I went back to my seat and saw that there was a message on my cell from the office. I hadn’t turned the ringer back up after the manager’s pre-game press conference, so I hadn’t heard it. The message: call back as soon as you get this. Good, I thought, we’ll straighten out this business of who is writing for the next day. Which, technically, is what happened. Still, apparently, I was either completely clueless or in total denial, I’m still not sure which.
It didn’t matter. I called back and got the voice mail. At 2:34 p.m. (that time-stamp is kind of stuck in my head for the time being), the office called back. I went into a hallway behind the press box and answered it with something like, “Hey, what’s up?’’ Or “What’s going on?’’ Along those lines.
My editor greeted me, paused, took a deep breath. “David, I’m sorry you have to be told this way …"