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From the Field

The Christmas Shocker
By Teresa Francis Garcia

Since September 11th, one can venture to say that media is a ubiquitous
entity in people’s lives. It’s the medium that informed of a new-world
order…that the image of an untarnished, happy-go-lucky America is really no
longer. The state of the nation is entwined in a new dimension of turmoil.

But just because media can bridge the information gap between Afghanistan and
a small town in America, doesn’t make us untouchable. Yes, it’s ironic that
in a time when information is so in-demand, we (the media) are also on the
chopping block.

Unemployment is still on the rise. In October, 400,000 Americans lost their
jobs. In the media sector, an estimated 100,000 jobs were sliced in the past
year or so. I can relate because I’m a number too! I received my station’s
"trick or treat" bag on October 31st, along with numerous other colleagues.
That aura of "the people need us," "we’re here to inform you of history
unfolding"…shattered. Sure we knew there were financial rumblings at our
parent company’s headquarters, but that was over yonder in some bigger city.
We still hoped we’d remain untouchable. The lesson: a lean staff can always
be leaner, even skinny.

So, ‘tis the season for a Christmas Shocker. Hello holidays, good-bye job.
I have until December 31st to stuff a paycheck into my holiday stocking. And
then? Well, I take the cup is half-FULL attitude. Life charts a variety of
courses for us, and the key to where you end up is heavily based upon your
reaction to a situation. Of course, I have ambivalent feelings. As a
private person, it hurts to realize that you are dispensable. As a
businessperson, I understand the reality of the sour economy, and I
understand that seniority can rule the employee-axing list (at least at our
station it applied). On one hand, it also saddened me because I have a
fabulous folder of enterprising story ideas I planned on covering in the
community. On the other hand, my cup is half-FULL attitude reminded me that
I can take these story ideas with me wherever I go. I own my experience, my
craft, my ideas; and whichever new community I end up in, I can share my
ideas there.

So, my advice: if you are delivered a Christmas Shocker this season, take it
like one of those sweet n’ sour candies. First it tastes tart and sour, and
then it dissolves into sweetness. Take that sour ‘pink slip’, and focus on
it becoming a sweet new opening in your life. Let it be the so-called
blessing in disguise. Search out a brand new job; it’s just around the
corner. You’ve just got to dig a little, like you would anyway if you’re
searching for an enterprising news story.

And remember: layoffs affect everyone, even the media. No matter how much
news is in-demand when a tragic event hits the nation, we all ride the same
roller coaster of life. You know that saying, "what goes up, must come down"
– Newton’s law of gravity…well, there’s also the law of perpetual motion –
the roller coaster of life, of work, must eventually make an ascent, again.

About the Author
Teresa Francis Garcia has been anchoring weather at KIMA-TV in Yakima,