Newspapers

Sports columnist blogs his firing

Paul Oberjuerge was writing his column for the San Bernardino Sun when he got the call. They were "eliminating the position of sports columnist for the Inland group.Ē

These days, your editor wants to see you (in tandem with the HR boss) for one reason only. And itís not to congratulate you on being named Employee of the Year....

I may have laughed aloud as I went down the stairs. Certainly, I smiled. It seemed so silly. ďThey come for me at a random time and a random day. A Thursday. At lunch. Huh.Ē

I walked down the hall, looking for the personnel department offices. All the doors were closed, so I had to glance through the glass to find one occupied. I noticed a guy sitting across the walkway, a guy whom I once had worked with on a daily basis, when he was in the plate room and I would run downstairs to build the agate page. Mark Quarles. I remember wondering if he knew what I was doing down there, Thursday afternoon, and whether he might actually call out to me. Or whether itís politically dangerous to acknowledge a Dead Man Walking.

[snip]

[Editor Steve] Lambert may have said he was sorry another time or two. How often he said it doesnít matter because I donít believe he meant it in the least. He could have said it 20 times or not at all and it wouldnít have mattered. The guy hasnít liked me since, oh, 2004, and I bet whacking me was the easiest call for him, of the 11 Sun newsroom people he fired that day. Dump a big salary (by Singleton standards) and a guy you donít like at the same time? Easy. Fun, actually.

He goes on to describe the long-term reduction in sports coverage at the Singleton papers and says "I must concede, too, I had reached a point where I routinely was embarrassed by the product I worked for, and if you find yourself feeling that way, maybe itís time to go."


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