Faced with newsroom layoffs, tweeting their own demise

ESPN staffers can’t tweet, reporters may not really own their twitter accounts and Sarah Palin may never use hers, but some journalists have taken it upon themselves to tweet their own demise.

When the Eugene Register-Guard announced on Monday their decision to cut 16 newsroom jobs, tweets popped up almost immediately. Starting around three in the afternoon, reporters and bloggers consolidated their collective sorrow into 140 characters, broadcasting their shock and disappointment even as they were presumably unplugging their keyboards. Woe is the heartache that is so public. A sample:

@aaronraganfore is feelin’ for the newly-sprung Register-Guard staffers.

@manderpants newspapers. BAH. let’s see how this unemployment thing goes. good luck to the guard – it’s gonna need it.

@bradbowlin Another black day.

@rgticket I sit right by the managing editor’s office and right now I am looking at the back of a third person getting laid off today. I am sick.

@bradbowlin Layoffs bring other changes, too. I’m moving to the copy desk (night shift) starting tomorrow. A minor inconvenience. Happy to have work.

@rgticket these lay offs are in no way merit- or performance-based, but i should probably shut up. hey everyone, thanks for all the virtual hugs.

@oregonmedia Layoffs today at The @RegisterGuard: http://3.ly/mHE @rgticket @bradbowlin

News spread fast —this one came from the Spokane-Review in Washington at 3:46 p.m.:

@cmulvany Word is 20 newsroom staff just laid off at the Eugene Register Guard. Lots of young reporters I’m told. Damn.

This wasn’t the first round of layoffs at the Eugene newspaper. In June, the Register-Guard eliminated 35 staff jobs as a result of “an unprecedented drop in advertising,” and “a lousy economy,” said Tony Baker, the paper’s publisher. But Baker added the financial benefits of the previous staff cuts are still being mitigated by decreasing ad revenue, suggesting another round of layoffs could be in the paper’s future.

Let’s just hope another #twitterfail doesn’t happen. With silent tweets and all these empty newsrooms, we would never be able to get first-hand news again.

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