Media In Praise of Older Journalists Taking Buyouts
posted by April 8 at 12:25 PMon
The “retirement” of the buyout brigade has the added benefit of loosening the ugly stranglehold the boomers have over the press. I may be risking self-extermination by advocating wholesale boomer expulsion, but there are just too many of us—especially the older variety—in top slots for journalism’s good. The sheer weight of our presence blocks the promotion of the next generation of talented journalists to the most desirable beats.
We like our nice salaries, we enjoy our benefits and vacation time, we dig our place in the pecking order, and we expect to live forever. So why should we leave? Our intransigence not only gives our product a rancid boomer tang—who can blame nonboomers for being repulsed?—it tends to stifle innovation.
Meanwhile, over on the Web, where news staffs tend to be younger and less tradition-bound, the sort of experimentation newspapers and magazines should be engaging in is a part of the daily routine. If not for age-discrimination legislation and other statutes, our bosses would have cleared us out with sharp-bladed bulldozers long ago and replaced us with younger, more-adaptable, and less-expensive minds. Yes, you heard right. Newsrooms must cut their budgets to survive, and the high-salaried boomers (and pre-boomers) are liabilities.
Fortunately, the one thing boomers understand is money, and the offer of a couple of years’ salary in the form of a buyout has been too great a temptation for many of them to resist. Whenever a journalism vet boards the SS Buyout—no matter how good he is—his departure initiates a series of reassignments that help replenish a news organization’s juices by bringing down the median age of reporters and editors and making it possible for his publication to add a lower-paying entry-level slot.