I’m currently sitting at my desk at the Reading Eagle as I write this. (It’s a very slow day.) I sit at a hexagonal-partition desk, but out of the six desks, I am the only person using one. Over half the desks at the Reading Eagle are vacant. Many more of these desks will be empty soon with inevitable layoffs from MediaNews Group who bought the Reading Eagle due to the bankruptcy.
When I walk through the building, I pass empty rooms filled with old computers and stacks of papers on desks, and I wonder what it was like working here in it’s heyday, well before I was born. It makes me sad that local journalism is failing, and newspapers will shrink as they are bought by larger companies and eventually become nonexistent. And it makes me sad that what I came to love in college is not a viable future for me.
I only have three shifts left at the Reading Eagle and I am definitely ready to go. Editing obituaries for the majority of my shifts became tedious and unchallenging after almost two years. Employee moral is at the lowest I have seen it. And I am so ready for change with my new job and the variety it will bring.
The thing I always miss the most when I leave a job, school or place is always the people. I will miss all the editors who gave me the opportunity to write for their sections. I will miss Carolyn who trained me and gave me most of my obit desk knowledge, and all the sports guys who were nice, funny and rooted for me whenever I had a new job interview. I remember how excited I was to see my byline printed in the Reading Eagle for the first time and the surprise I felt when one of my articles was the cover story of the Berks Country section. I will also miss all the funeral directors who called to talk to me every day.
Most of all, I will miss the other obituary staff, Chris and Debbie. The three of us have formed a family dynamic with Momma Deb treating us to lunches and covering our shifts in snowy weather, Chris with his humor and sports updates in our group chat, and myself who became the sort-of leader of the group and go-to for obituary related questions and procedures.
I wish the Reading Eagle employees the best of luck as they wait to hear back if they are hired by MediaNews Group or not. It’s an extremely stressful time, especially for all the married couples who work there. Although I was job searching for a year, my new job came at the perfect time. The Reading Eagle will always have special meaning to me as my first job out of college and it is bittersweet to leave.
I am very excited to begin my adventure with my first full-time job as a public relations associate at Communication Solutions Group. Although it is not journalism, there are many parallels, and I continue to do what I love: writing. I am excited for the variety of writing press releases, newsletters, ads, social media, pitches, speeches or anything else my clients need.