Newspaper Lays Off Designer Behind “Dying Newsroom”

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What does it say about the state of the newspaper industry if it can’t even chronicle its own demise?

That’s the question prompted by this sad piece of news from Editor & Publisher today: Martin Gee, the longtime designer and illustrator who was behind Mother Jones‘ recent online photo essay, The Dying Newsroom, has been laid off from his job at the San Jose Mercury News. E&P quotes the Mercury News‘ publisher’s explanation for this most recent round of layoffs: “We have had a very challenging 2008.”

Gee’s photos document the cumulative effect of layoffs in which the paper lost close to half its staff. They are surprisingly touching photos of ordinary office gear, receiverless phones, and the like, left behind by hastily departing colleagues. Gee wrote with one of the images: “I still believe in this place. I grew up with this paper, and this is the paper I always wanted to be at.”

See the photo essay here.

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

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That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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