April 15, 2021

Three words — “Some personal news” — might slow your scroll on Twitter. Someone is leaving their job. Someone is starting a new job. Someone got laid off. We saw that one a lot last year.

We don’t have solid numbers for the people who left the news, voluntarily or involuntarily, during the pandemic. And media layoffs aren’t new. But furloughs, closures, layoffs and departures during the pandemic hit nearly every medium everywhere.

We can tell stories about the people whose work changed because of the coronavirus.

My colleagues, Angela Fu and Amaris Castillo, and I are doing that starting this week with a regular series we call “Some personal news.” We want to tell the stories of journalists, printing plant employees, ad sales people, news researchers and anyone else whose employment by newsrooms ended because of the pandemic.

You can tell us your story here.

Our goal is to capture as many kinds of stories as we can with each installment. But we’re not the first, or only, team to do this work. The stories of journalists who’ve left the news business fill the private Facebook Group “What’s your Plan B?” which now has more than 16,000 members. Open News’ series “Exit Interviews” shares “observations from news nerds who have recently left the field and still love it.” Former journalists are even finding work helping other former journalists find new work.

Here’s what we’ve heard so far from the 31 people who’ve shared their stories: 21 people were laid off. Nine people left their jobs because of burnout and impending layoffs. Eight people are still looking for work.

Our series title, “some personal news” is a nod to the tradition of tweeting job moves, but it’s also an attempt to capture how the pandemic hurt journalism and the people who make and support it by telling their stories. We begin with a journalist who was laid off and started her own site, another who started a new job and left after feeling isolated and alone, and a third who helped launch a startup, got laid off and is still considering his next move.

You can tell us your story here.

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This article was originally published April 13, 2021.

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Kristen Hare covers the people and business of local news and is the editor of Locally at Poynter. She previously worked as a staff writer…
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