In the internal folklore of the Los Angeles Times, one of the worst layoff stories has always been the reporter who learned he was laid-off when, on a reporting trip to Alaska, his company American Express card suddenly didn't work anymore. This week's experience for environment reporter Margot Roosevelt could top that. From her farewell note to the newsroom:
It was a strange place to get an email with the news of my lay-off: An Alaska field station 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle where the sun doesn’t set in July. I was about to get on a helicopter (thanks to a two-week science journalism grant) with biologists who study how arctic fire is changing earth’s climate. Been sleeping in a cold tent, fending off mosquito swarms and happily roaming over moss-green tundra, the lavender peaks of the Brooks Range in the distance.
I’ve loved the LA Times. I’m grateful to have worked with so many people I admire. I’m heartbroken to be leaving. Please keep in touch.
And if by chance you hear of any place that could use the skills of someone who’s been a political reporter, a congressional reporter, a foreign correspondent (fluent in Spanish and French), a crime, education, immigration reporter and, for a time, an environment reporter…
Also: Randy Hagihara, director of the paper's Metpro & Summer Internship Program, announced Friday that he's leaving. Buyout not layoff, say a couple of younger staffers who count him as a mentor. He signs off with a piece of haiku:
my newspaper job
was a blast while it lasted
but all things must end
Thanks y'all for making me look like I knew what I was doing.
All the best.
And: Op-ed columnist and book reviewer Tim Rutten said on KCRW's "Which Way, L.A." that he only got wind this week that he would be laid off after 39 years, one year short of retirement, and with his column "relatively popular" on the web. His exit has spurred by far the most reaction I've heard of any of this week's Times layoffs. Listen to segment