Today I went to work … for the simple reason I had a job to go to.
I will do the same on Monday and Tuesday.
And, hopefully, presumably, next Friday, too.
Given the ongoing ructions in the media in general and the newspaper lark in particular, this is not a situation I take for granted – even in a good week.
And this has not been a good week. (But perhaps it hasn’t been ruinously bad one either … read on, dear reader, read on …)
Once again, my colleagues and I have been tossed around by the winds of change.
In this case, it was announced on Thursday that the western suburbs affairs of the MMP group, for which I work, are to be merged with the western suburbs affairs of the Star group, which lives on the other side of the Ring Road from our Airport West HQ.
Details remain a little sketchy, but it seems the new set-up will be a completely separate entity from both parent companies.
Two things have surprised me about this:
1. It’s the first time I can recall in regards to similar announcements that sub-editors and production staff, of which I am one, have not been earmarked as pretty much the first to be given the boot.
2. My own reaction – which has bemused me with its sanguine outlook.
OK, in this case my own immediate work situation remains unaltered … for now.
But I wasn’t to know that when my boss called me on one of my days off to give me the news.
This rather ho-hum response couldn’t be more at odds with my feelings when faced with such potentially dire news on two previous occasions in recent years.
During both, I was teary and felt a wild, thoroughly unpleasant mixture of bleakness, anger and terror.
I know not if this equanimity is attributable to simply being too exhausted by anxiety and stress to summon up any sort of primal emotional response.
Or if it is simply down to a mature acceptance of facing the unknown and what I cannot change with whatever optimism I can summon.
Possibly, it is a combination of both.
For you, the citizens of the west, this will mean that in about three months you will get not three but two suburban papers stuffed into your mailboxes – providing they get delivered to your particular neighbourhood at all!
For myself and my colleagues, there is potential upsides to all this even as, as I have been led to believe, job losses in the MMP group alone number about 30.
Having three companies publishing community newspapers across the west has proven to be unsustainable.
So now it will be something of an old-fashioned head-to-head newspaper war between the Leader group of News Ltd and what I have been told will be called the Weekly Star publications.
It’s perhaps too easy and glib for journalists to proclaim suburban newspapers as the great hope for the future.
But I reckon they do provide some cause for optimism.
After a career mostly undertaken in metropolitan newspapers, I am thoroughly enjoying working on and with stories that have real meaning in local contexts.
Politics and sport are just two of the areas in which we seem to be providing a much-wanted service largely abandoned by the big guys.
I was told today that the circulation of the Herald Sun has slipped below 400,000 and that of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph below 300,000.
I am unsure of the accuracy of those figures, but still …
In the meantime, should Consider The Sauce continue to grow and develop in the next four years in the same manner it has for the past four, maybe by the time the whole newspaper mess goes down, I will be in a position to survive doing something I really, truly love.
PS: I wanted to use the word sanguineness … but I don’t think it IS a word!