Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Laid off from the Washington Times.

Well, the other shoe dropped today: Remember the story that ran a month ago today in which I was quoted in the Washington Post about snakes in our newsroom? If you want to see it, please go to the "birthday month" entry below.
I thought journalists were truth-seeking types. Also, I am always trying to coax people to go on the record. Isn't it a bit hypocritical of me to not do so as well?
Alas, my employers felt differently. I knew things were going south when my articles were either cut in half, tossed out of the print edition or placed at the back of the paper. An one exception was this piece which got snuck onto the front page when the editor was away. Then we just had a new design of our web site and I couldn't help notice that "faith" was missing from the home page whereas "entertainment" was prominent on the navigation bar, even though we have no entertainment reporters. Then I heard last week that my religion blog had been killed.
But I was out sick most of that week due to surgery on my foot. Then Veeka came down with a fever over the weekend so I spent the morning of Memorial Day in one of those emergency doc-in-a-box clinics getting her antibiotics. So when I went into work today, it was on crutches with a bandaged foot, with Veeka in tow and a bottle of kiddie Tylenol in my purse. We were going to stay 1-2 hours while I gathered up some notes and prepared to do the rest of my work from home. So I was starting work on a column and Veeka was watching one of her videos when Sam Dealey, the editor, walked up. Now he has refused to speak to me since the Post article, so I knew something was up and sure enough, he invited me to his office.
He said the Washington Times is going in a different direction and that religion coverage would not be part of it; hence my job was being done away with. Yeah, right: for an organization whose four foundational principles are family, faith, freedom and service.
I flatly told Sam this was payback. Plus there I was having to pack 11 heavy boxes in a few hours containing 14 years of work - no easy task. And with a bum foot. Within about two hours, my phone and email were cut off. When dozens of Times reporters were laid off last December, they got two days to go through their email but hey, things have gotten nastier, haven't they?
Seeing what was going on, a few very nice employees took Veeka downstairs for lunch or out for a walk, just to help me out. Am including a photo that a helpful intern - Hillary May - shot on my iPhone of me sitting at the back of my car trunk after packing some of the boxes. Veeka began to cry so it took several tries to get her to smile a little. Poor little girl: having to be with her mommy during such a nasty day.
Hearing of this mess, the Levys, my neighbors across the street, ordered in Chinese and had Veeka and I over for dinner.


Stephanie said...

Julia: We are stunned with you, but hope that you can take heart in the midst of this. We know that the Lord will come through with Bigger and Better in His Time, so try to give your foot the rest it needs in the meantime. Please don't stress yourself out, but let the future rest with the One who really holds your future with promise. ~ Stevie

Creighton said...

This is the way of the World....and the boat is full...I and many others are in the boat with you.

May our Lord open doors and bless you with a new position soon.

God bless,

Pat said...

Hello from Pat Curry, an old colleague from your Sun-Tattler days. Saw a tweet from Poynter on your layoff -- been there, done that -- and wanted to get in touch. Wish I'd known you were in D.C.; I used to work for Builder Magazine, which is based there. Made regular treks there.
We're in Augusta, Ga., now. Email is patscurry@bellsouth.net. Do send me a note. I'd love to catch up.

Tom Ramstack's Photo Blog said...

Hi Julia. I called over to The Times yesterday to speak with someone else but heard what happened to you. It's a tragedy and one that I share. I hope you bounce back quickly.

Tom Ramstack

joannacook said...

Julia, I am a fan...we've never met but I love your books. I am so sad to hear this, and you will be in my prayers. For what it's worth, I also sent a note to the Times telling them what a terrible mistake they made.

Phyllis said...

Bummer. I so enjoyed your blog and columns in the paper. There loss. Something wonderful is out there for you. How about some books on your life at the Washington TImes.???

gtarne said...

Hi Julia so sorry to read this news. My prayers are with you and your family.

Peter Smith said...

Julia, I'm so sorry. I appreciate your work, and I know you'll be back at it soon. Best to you and Veeka.

-Peter Smith

Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz said...

What a bunch of idiots. Sorry, but what else can you say? Cutting off the one who is arguably the best religion writer in the country? One of the few who actually has a degree in the field? While you have your daughter with you at work and you're walking around on crutches? What's that saying about noses and faces?

Anyway, I am joining with others asking you to contact me -- polish.pinecone@gmail.com.

Joe hakun said...

Dear Julia Duin,
Please get back to me ASAP.
I sent you letters and emails this past November.
I want to send you a letter again.
It is very important that you get back to me ASAP.
We can publish something.
I was the one who sent you copies of my letters to Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia Pa. and a reporter.
I hope you remember them and have them. Letters and emails.

Thank you,
Joe Hakun

Julie said...

I'm so sorry! What a shock--you did not deserve this. We'll pray for you, and for your daughter too. You are such a good journalist, and I hope this trial will be over soon. Incidentally, Andy's job was eliminated a few months ago and God has delivered us to someplace new. I know He will take care of you too.

Joe hakun said...

Dear Julia,

Romans 8:28 " And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. "

I know you had plans to stay at the Washington Times, and that I believed you would continue to be there, but God had other plans.

It would have been a blessing for them, but forget it now.

Philippians 3:13-14
" Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. "
" I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. "

You must get back to me, I have a blessing for you.

Yours in Christ Jesus,
Joe Hakun

Joe hakun said...

As Stephanie said, " We know that the Lord will come through with bigger and better in his time. The future rests with the one who really holds your future with promise. "

This is Joe Hakun again.
What Stephanie said is true.
Listen to her and contact me at joehakun1@spamarrest.com and or Joe Hakun 2608 S. 73rd st. Philadelphia, Pa. 19153

Thank you,
Joe Hakun

DVZ said...

With thirty-five years of empathy, lionheart. Heidi and I will be kepping you and familiy in mind.


RonFurg said...

Julia - I'm just your ordinary fan. I've loved reading your work and wish you well. I believe with all my heart that better things are in store for you. His plan is to bless you and prosper you. Ron <><

DonAlive said...

The bad news is a loss for your readers and yet, could the lay off also be an opportunity in the making...? Thank you for your many words, which on occasion I have enjoyed.