My first real professional successes came while I worked at Guy Gannett Communications back in the mid 90’s. It was the dawn of the internet and I spent 5-6 years trying to convince an old dinosaur media company to start pushing its content out onto the web. Ultimately I left that job in a bit of a huff, frustrated at how slowly they moved and how dumb the decisions they were making were. A fine example from that period would be them recognizing the threat ebay posed to their person to person classified ads and deciding to drop 10’s of thousands a year on a halfassed ebay clone one of the big national syndication companies was pitching as the solution.
Shortly before I left the family that owned the company decided to sell it. The crown jewel of Guy Gannett was The Portland Press Herald, and the Seattle Times Company ended up owning it, along with me. I got a nice cash bonus from this sale and an incentive to stay with the company for a year, but their decision to put the Press Herald editorial staff in charge of the online stuff was the proverbial straw on the camel’s back and almost as soon as my contractually obligated year was up, I quit.
I guess the point I’m getting to is that this has stuck in my craw ever since. There’s no real point in rehashing it all, and the truth is it all happened long enough ago that I’ve forgotten much of the detail, but I will confess that the announcement that the Seattle Times company is selling the Press Herald for what amounts to a fire sale price gives me a certain satisfaction of the ‘I could have told you so, fools,’ school. That’s tempered by the the knowledge that friends and acquaintances of mine are going to lose their jobs over this and leaves me a bit conflicted, but man, there sure is some poetic justice in all this from where I’m sitting.
Anyway, I hope for the best for my friends who are still there. It’s been years since I’ve been in close touch with most of them, but I sat through an earlier round of layoffs and uncertainty there and I know how badly that sucks. Here’s hoping a Maine-based white knight shows up to save them from being gobbled up by one of the national syndicates. Meanwhile, I’ll indulge myself in just a little bit of smarmy ‘told ya so’ satisfaction that the karmic balance has been restored when it comes to how that place conducted itself and treated me.