The List

When I saw the list, I couldn’t help but wish that Rob Gebeloff’s name was on there.

Sure, Gebeloff absconded for points east long before the buyout, so he didn’t even get to enjoy the wait with us and certainly wouldn’t be among the 160 or so names listed as those remaining at The Ledger now that all the recent fun is done.

Why would it be good to still have him around? Because he would have databased all the folks — those who are staying and those who soon will be gone — by age, salary, marital status and whether their children are nearing college age. He would have mined our personal info and then rendered it as digital three dimensional computerized graphics that would have told us lots about how the recent events have changed the workforce in the newsroom and newspaper.

He would have compared median age before and after the buyout, telling us whether that figure went up or down. He would have compared the average pay, how many children they have per capita, household expenses and many other data points I’m not even considering.

Perhaps it could have factored in economic and market trends, provided some quotient for hope or fear that might give insight into why some let go and others still hang on.

What would it tell us? What kind of portrait would it paint of those who left and those who stayed? Maybe we don’t really want to know.

But I can’t help but wonder when I see a list rendered in such spare, unevocative terms. The journalist in me demands context, analysis, some deeper meaning. Is it a roll call of the fortunate or the damned? Should those on it be given congratulations or commiserations?

And why have all those departing been acknowledged only by their absence from this list?

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4 Responses to “The List”

  1. jerseygull Says:

    Those of us departing (and I am among them) aren’t getting so much as a thank you from the company. Those who left on Wednesday had their e-mail boxes removed by Thursday! Not so much as a chance to leave an instant reply telling people “I’m no longer here, please contact so-and-so instead.” They have become nonpersons.

  2. notanemployee Says:

    It is standard for companies to delete email addresses right away. It would have been up to you to contact others in advance to let them know you were leaving and provide your home email address to those you wished to remain in contact with. Companies never offer “thank you”s either. I know departures are painful, esp. after years of loyalty, but don’t take this personally.

  3. “NEW YORK October, the final full month of election campaign news, continued a good run for newspaper Web sites – most in the top 30 reported double-digit monthly unique gains. Only two, The Seattle Times and had slight decreases, according to the latest data from Nielsen Online.”

    I’d put this somewhere more appropriate but i couldn’t find an email address or name or contact…


  4. sizzlingjboy Says:

    Robert, it is probably telling for the future of and the Star-Ledger that as the election campaign climaxed both unique visitors and time they spent on the web site fell. October numbers for time of visit bottomed at about 2.5 minutes per visitor, down from nearly 12 minutes the year before when there was no election campaign.

    There really isn’t any good way s to spin these numbers, but people at are trying. Realization of the fatal flaws of the web strategy at Newhouse newspapers doesn’t appear to be likely. Without a fundamental change the newspaper and — which derives nearly 80 percent of its content from The Ledger — seems likely to fail.

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