The Ink-Stained Unemployed

Newspapers will shrink as veterans are forced out the door

No such luck for Fineout. As he faces the possible end of his career in journalism, Fineout flashes back to his early days at the Tallahassee Democrat when the newspaper business first began venturing onto the internet in the early to mid-'90s. He remembers thinking that it didn't make sense to offer the newspaper's content for free, and he heard some business-side employees voicing the same opinion.

He wonders if the early decision by the industry not to charge for stories might be costing him his job today. But he knows it's a question to which he'll never have an answer. "You can't put that genie back in the bottle," he says.

Fineout's buyout likely won't give him much comfort. For every year he has worked, he will receive two weeks' salary. With four years under his belt, he's likely looking at just eight weeks' pay. Even longtime employees like Phil Long won't get much severance, since the Herald is putting the maximum buyout amount at 32 weeks' pay.

He says he's concerned about his family's future, but he's not in dire straits. His wife is employed, and he's confident he'll find gainful employment with the skills he's honed as a reporter — a job he expected to have his entire working life.

"I'm not leaving journalism," he says. "Journalism is leaving me."

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