Thursday, July 31, 2008

What kind of day has it been?

Blogging's been pretty light the last couple of days, in part due to a lack of interesting primetime stuff to write about, in part due to me having some odd deadline issues, and in large part today due to this happening. A few people have e-mailed to ask what this means for the future of the paper in general and for me in particular, and the answer right now is that I have no idea. But it's been a brutal couple of years in the newspaper business, and I guess we were about due to take a turn in the abbattoir.

Back tonight or tomorrow morning with "My Boys" and "Burn Notice," plus new "Wire" reviews and all the other usual weekend fun.

39 comments:

Eires32 said...

Freudian typo "My Buys"-(outs).
Keeping good thoughts for a good outcome for you Alan - whatever that means in the end!

Alan Sepinwall said...

Whoops. Fixed.

Will said...

Stay tough! When I read about it on Romenesko, I instantly thought of you and the guy who writes Exploding Newsroom.

MPH said...

It will be interesting to see how this will affect you view of Season 5 of "The Wire." Either way, best of luck. I am sure you will have a bright future on the internet regardless of the outcome of the print medium.

Alan Sepinwall said...

It will be interesting to see how this will affect you view of Season 5 of "The Wire."

Believe me, I didn't need this plague to visit my house to know how bad things were in newspapers when I was watching that season.

Anonymous said...

They just chopped 30+ people from my newsroom in Allentown (including a third of my copy desk). I survived, but it's not a happy time right now. Best of luck to you Alan, and to Frassinelli (one of our Morning Call alumni, though I don't know if you know him), and the rest of your staff for that matter.

Byron said...

Surely anyone able to pull out that quote to head this entry will land on his feet.

Best of luck.

dez said...

Yikes! Good luck, Alan!

I read today that the L.A. Times has let columnist Steve Harvey (the "Herb Caen" of L.A.) go. Tough times, indeed :(

Chris said...

Best wishes Alan. I avoided print for an online path out of college. I'm not sure it's any safer, but at least lately I can say it has been. I've even been through one sale already after just three years. Now THAT was stressful.

Anonymous said...

This is a shame...I have been reading the SL for almost 20 years. I always loved it. When traveling other newspapers seemed like they were put together in a kid's basement compaired to the proffessionalism of the Ledger. I had a feeling things were bad when they started to combine sections. Sigh...I hope the moves allow it to stay afloat. Who knows what agenda a potential buyer will have.

Anonymous said...

Alan, we would all be at a loss without your keen insights. Your Sopranos articles were legendary.

Adam C. said...

Just joining in to add my good wishes, Alan -- I hope for the best for you.

Anonymous said...

I agree that this is quite the shame. The Star Ledger is THE newspaper of New Jersey.

Sad for all NJers if at least the state's largest and most definitive newspaper can't make it through these hard business times.

Good luck in the times ahead.

filmcricket said...

I hope people who value this blog and others like it take some time to think about the connection between wanting everything free and the people that that affects. Yes, the C.E.O. of Warner Music can still afford his ivory backscratcher, but the Next Best Thing you've never heard of might never get signed because of declining profits. Yes, movie moguls still get their million-dollar bonuses, but when Warner Bros. decides not to hold public preview screenings anymore due to piracy, some people (like me) get less work reviewing their films. And when newspapers cut positions and even whole bureaus, we all wind up paying the price. Ignorance may be bliss but it's also very dangerous.

I sound like a total Luddite, and I'm really not. I also don't think the fault lies totally, or even primarily, with the users; it seems like a lot of companies get into the newspaper business because someone's seen "Citizen Kane" too many times and then get perturbed because they aren't making any money. But the idea that the result of creative endeavour should be free to all really bothers me. I hope you and your colleagues weather the storm, Alan. I'm sending good vibes your way.

(Love your use of the Sorkinese. You mentioned a while back that you might do a post on "Charlie Wilson's War" - any inclination to still do so?)

Alan Sepinwall said...

(Love your use of the Sorkinese. You mentioned a while back that you might do a post on "Charlie Wilson's War" - any inclination to still do so?)

I started to write one the day after I Netflix'ed it and then never got past the "as soon as I" spoiler warning. Maybe at some point this summer.

Sorkin and I did have some kind of reconciliation last week when he came to ABC's press tour party, which was unexpected but nice, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

alan,

if you every stop writing i am going to stop watching television.

the "good news" part of this is that what you do is what people are interested in. they would never whack alan.

the "bad news" part of this is... this is pretty much all people are interested in anymore.


i wish the best for you...

Nicole said...

You're too talented for them not to want to keep you, and other papers should be clamoring for you. It will all work out... and I will follow you anywhere (virtually, I'm not a creepy stalker or anything.)

Matt Zoller Seitz said...

You're not just a friend, and the gold standard of beat partners, Alan, you're my brother. I miss working alongside you on the TV desk -- especially the challenge of trying to make you laugh with some stupid celebrity impression, then keep the laugh going until you'd order me to stop. I learned a hell of a lot from you, and I'm confident that you'll be happy and productive and respected no matter where you are or what you do.

Sending much love your way--

MZS

PamelaJaye said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PamelaJaye said...

let me try this again.

Good luck Alan,
I was laid off about three weeks ago.

I suppose it's sad that people don't read newspapers anymore (and suddenly I realize how Journeyman could have some meaning for you). I'm not one who dumped newspapers for the web -- I've never (never, never) read newspapers (so I guess that means I read them more now that they are online) and only get the Sunday paper - for the coupons.

So basically i'm not much help. But I do love your blog.
Good luck with the whole "transferrable skills" thingie.

(and if there's anyone out there in the St Pete area who needs an admin assistant, with bookkeeping experience who is also able to fix your computer network when it breaks down and possibly manage your website - let me know - http://www.pamelajaye.com)
(hey, you never know)

anon said...

Isn't the Ledger somewhere in the top 20 in terms of circulation? This is crappy crappy news. Good luck weathering what comes next.

Anon

Dark Tyler said...

Your insight makes TV viewing that much better an experience. I believe and hope that you will make it. And in case it'll be necessary, of course I will follow you anywhere, as well. All the best, man.

arrabbiata said...

When I was a young college student, they told us to major in what you like, since most of the jobs we would eventually have hadn't been invented yet. Back then I never thought about the other half- the jobs that progress would eliminate.

As an Essex County native, I grew up with the Ledger. I live down the shore now, but I still consider it a part of my life. I hate to think of its diminishing, much less its demise.

Alan, the optimist in me has to believe that someone with your insight and reputation will be able to remain employed in your field. I hope it's there in Newark, but if the situation takes you elsewhere, at least we can follow you there online.

Good luck to you and the Star Ledger staff.

Anonymous said...

I would think, Alan, that you would be too valuable for the Star-Ledger to even consider losing.

But then again, the LA Times just lost many of its most valuable reporters, including several Pulitzer winners and the guy who's been writing the "Only in LA." column for decades.

But then again, you're not owned by the Tribune Company.

Anonymous said...

Good luck Alan. I have been following your work since you started the NYPD Blue page. I knew I would always be interested in what you had to say about anything on TV and am sure many feel the same way. Whatever happens at the paper, I know you'll have a bright future and I look forward to reading whatever you do.

Steven Timberman said...

Damn, I'm sorry to hear that.

Your articles combine the rare ability to critically analyze a show without ruining the fun that the show initially brings.

After fumbling around majors for the better part of three years, I'm finally switching over to creative writing and hoping to hell that I don't sell out to a cushy office job by the time I get that degree.

Best of luck.

page said...

Just want to echo everyone else's words of praise and encouragement. When I heard the news on WBGO yesterday the first thing I thought was "Well, there's no way they would lose Alan!" I've been such a fan of yours (and of Matt) since I moved to NJ in 2000 and started reading the SL (which I read daily, as well as the Times -- I'm going to be so sad if/when newspapers really do cease publishing). The blog has only increased my respect for your wit and wisdom. Thanks for all you do, and best of luck during this sure-to-be trying time.

M.A.Peel said...

You have been part of the van guard of the internet/blogging criticism revolution, and it is exciting for me to feel connected to it all by being one of your readers. I am sure there will be a next phase to your role as the internet community deepens, with or without the Star Ledger.

Tosy And Cosh said...

I grew up with the Bergen Record, but after I got married my wife and I moved to Morris County, where the Ledger demonstrated what a newspaper really was. We moved back to Bergen County after a few years, and I was horrified to learn that I couldn't get the Ledger delivered. It seems hard to imagine that newspapers could go the way of the dodo, but then again lots of things I find hard to imagine happen all the time. Best of luck to you Alan, whatever happens.

Carrie said...

Quo vadimus?

LA said...

So sorry about this, Alan. It's happening in every industry. We had layoffs at my hospital last month, more in September. I'm keeping good thoughts for both of us.

PamelaJaye said...

youknow it'sbad when the *hospitals* start laying off!

hang in there

(everyone)

Anonymous said...

Alan,
We moved to NJ in 1968, and I watched my Dad read the Star Ledger from cover to cover every day with his morning coffee. I have been doing the same thing since I am about 12, which means the past 36 years. In fact, during the course of my business career, I have almost had to accept a transer, and have called the ledger to see about getting out of state, once a week delivery (obviously before the internet age).
I don't know what I'd do if the paper ceased publication, but I do know, as others have said, regardless of where you end up, I'll be there with you...we have similar tastes in shows....I have not only enjoyed your Soprano reviews, but shared your love of Deadwood and of course, the Wire. And your comments on Mad Men made me get the DVD's and read along with your season 1 reviews as well!!
As someone else said, hang in there, and we are with you.
Just please tell me that when the announcement was made, the Publisher did not utter the line thay you need to "do more with less".

Baylink said...

8 years of Republican rule. And we started with a federal budget *surplus*, folks.

My thinking, Alan, is that if worse comes to worse, you could try to pull a deal like Nikki has: I gather she's making a living off her site, with the referral traffic from the paper to launch her.

Karen said...

Yikes! Tough times, indeed. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed for you, Alan!

barefootjim said...

I've lived in California all of my life. I'd never even heard of the Star-Ledger when I started noticing a few years ago that every time I followed a TV Tattle link to something Alan wrote, I liked what he had to say.

Eventually, I bookmarked his column archive on the Star-Ledger site, and then this site soon after it started.

I've been coming here nearly every day pretty much since. The point being that "Alan Sepinwall" is a brand to me, not the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

A brand that means -- like "Tim Goodman" or "TV Club" or (until a few months ago) "TWOP" -- quality writing and/or intelligent discussion about TV.

Sure, the net is responsible for the "free" culture that exists around content, but it is also responsible for the fact that a single writer with a strong voice can develop a following outside of his or her natural geographical base.

That must mean something, in terms of your current value to the bean counters and/or your future value to other -- more foresighted -- employers.

Pamela Jaye said...

A brand that means... quality writing and/or intelligent discussion about TV.

hear, hear!

Alan Sepinwall said...

Thanks for the kind words, everybody. Nice to see over what's been a very surreal couple of days.

Tracey said...

Ouch. Sorry to hear about the situation at your paper.

I'm sure you know this is nothing new in the industry. My mother was a reporter for Philadelphia's Evening Bulletin back in the late 1970s, but she got out before that one went under. They've been talking about the imminent death of the newspaper industry for decades now, and yet they survive.

Be strong. I'm sure things will work out for you.