As we reported earlier today, Chicago Tribune "Recession Diarist" Lou Carlozo was told Wednesday he was among those being laid off in the newspaper's latest round of cuts. Carlozo says when he learned the news editors forced him to remove an entry telling readers that he was out of work too.
The entire "Recession Diaries" blog was removed from the paper's web site. But Carlozo agreed to share his spiked posting for "Recession Diaries" with Planet Money so others could learn what it was like for him to confront the economy, first hand.
Here's what Carlozo wrote:
This will be my last post as a Chicago Tribune staff writer, and the author of the Recession Diaries.
Today, just an hour ago, I received word that this will be my last week as a Chicago Tribune employee. So as you can see, no one is immune from the recession—not even someone who writes about it daily, diligently and with an eye towards serving those who have had their bank accounts drained, their retirement accounts dashed, their hearts broken, and their hopes placed under a dangling sword of despair.
I, for one, refuse to be bitter or ungrateful. While it will take me some time to process being unemployed after 20-odd years in the field I love, I recognize now how much I need to take the advice I gave to you with every ounce of my passion. That is: Account for those things no recession can take away from you. Your faith in God. Your family. Your friends. Your health. Your many blessings.
I am part of an industry-wide trend that will likely result in the death of print journalism within five years time. That is not what the higher-ups would like me to tell you, nor is it a result of anything wrong that they have done. On the contrary, I admire Sam Zell and all he has done to keep this company going. I have not always agreed with the new ownership's decisions or rationale, but my opinions come from an uniformed perspective. I write for deadline; I do not know the intricacies of finance and balancing the books. (Perhaps my early dispatches on the recession front have proved this.)
So where will I be? Looking for a job. Playing with my kids. Walking, talking and praying with my wife. And of course, praying for and hopefully hearing from you, my readers, who have made this year of 2009 one of the most rewarding ever. I started in this business in 1989 as a long-haired kid without a clue about journalism, but a heart for the written word, public service and fighting for the little guy. My hair has long since vanished—oh, the vagaries of middle age!—but the idealist and optimist in me refuses to walk gently into that good night. Nor will I allow it to do so.
Also, a tip of the hat to the best boss a man could ask for, Lara Weber. It was her idea to start this blog, and without her inspiration, support, and most of all guidance and good cheer, I could not have achieved anything on the recession reporting front. She's a woman any journalist would be lucky to call boss, confidant and dear, dear friend. I will miss you, Lara.
Please stay in touch, and wish me luck. firstname.lastname@example.org.
In God's Peace, Lou
"At a time when the newspaper I love needs every reader it can possibly hold onto, no story is more timely than that of a man covering the recession and telling people how to survive it," Carlozo writes in an email to Planet Money. "Yesterday, I became a casualty of that recession, but as much as I'm licking my wounds, I feel more sad for the readers who grew to love this resource, then had it taken away from them without any explanation whatsoever. That I am part of the news makes this all the more awkward, but as one deadline ends, another begins."
Planet Money has sought comment from Tribune Editor Gerould Kern and additionally asked for comment from the newspaper's chief spokesman. We will update when we receive any response.