Letters: Layoffs, And Alaskans Celebrate Solstice

Talk of the Nation listeners weigh in on finding jobs abroad to circumvent the recession in the U.S. Also, a listener from Fairbanks explains why some Alaskans hail the solstice with an annual moonlit bike ride.

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NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, the day we read from your emails and web comments. The number of people without jobs jumped last month and we heard from many of you recently laid off. We also heard from several employers, including Marty Henry(ph), who emailed from St. Louis: I can't understand where these people are. I have a small company and need to hire two new people, one project manager and one administrative assistant. We've advertised for months for these positions and have had a few applications but none directly focused on our jobs. I would hire tomorrow if a qualified person showed up.

And this from former job seeker Robert Garma(ph) in Denver: With a Ph.D. and 15 years of university-level teaching, I lost my job when the college shut down. I spent seven months looking for a professorship and I finally found it. Next semester, I will be teaching philosophy in Dalian, China.

The brutal economy is also hitting close to home in the news business. The Tribune Company filed for bankruptcy. The Christian Science Monitor announced that it will publish on the Web only. NPR announced layoffs last week. Today, the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News said they will cut home delivery to three days a week and focus on their digital audience. Last week, we looked at where we might be getting our news in 2012. For Jeremiah Johnson(ph) in Tucson, it will likely be online. I'm one of the younger generation who is interested in and follows the news closely, but I have not bought a newspaper or watched cable news in years. I don't view the national news media as having a lock on the fact. I'd just as soon take my chances on the Web, where it costs me nothing to visit a variety of pages and collect a variety of views on the news of the day.

Another listener argues that the battle for younger readers may not be lost yet. Young people are attracted to ideas, not just the Internet. We've seen with the current political temperature that it's not that hard to reach us. If nothing else, I would think that the current economic crisis would teach us that technology and those things associated with the virtual world are not always the best way to go. I think youth could be a very valuable asset of the printed press. They just have to speak to us from the newsstands. That email from Larissa(ph) in Overland Park, Kansas.

And finally, we talked about the approach of the Winter Solstice, which arrives this Sunday, and our dark nights. Heather Best, who lives in Fairbanks, Alaska, reminds us it could be a lot worse. We in Fairbanks have trouble sympathizing with the winter sufferings of Lower 48ers or even Anchoragites. We went under four hours of daylight yesterday, so the Solstice is reason to celebrate. Daylight begins its slow return, a small group of cyclists has a longest night ride to commemorate the turning of our light fortunes, a moon or an auroral display can easily brighten the longest night.

As always, if you have comments, questions or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is talk@npr.org. You can also leave your comments at our Web site. Just go to npr.org and click on Talk of the Nation. Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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