How people behave as their ivory tower collapses

I have no vested interest the “old order” of journalism, be it at newspapers, in public radio or elsewhere. I don’t have a journalism degree (though I do have the kissing cousin degree: English). I’ve collected a paycheck from the media world for less than 4 years now, having spent many years before that in a variety of businesses.

But I would hope that even if I had studied journalism in college, spent a 20+ year career in the field, won awards and so on that I would show a hell of a lot more professionalism and simple human decency than the ugly curs trolling one newspaper intern’s blog this week.

Admittedly, it’s a volatile situation as people are losing their jobs at the Tampa Tribune and the newspaper company is confronting the facts: if they change nothing they’re definitely dead, and even if they change everything they might still be dead. That’s a tough situation for everyone.

It’s terrible to be laid off (it’s happened to me). Layoffs cast all reason out the window in favor of pain and fear. But come on. That doesn’t give you either the right or the moral authority to attack an intern as your personal scapegoat for everything that’s “wrong” with the media industry (in your eyes).

It’s been nearly 24 hours now since I read the post — a fascinating insider look that most journalists wouldn’t share with the public (oh, the delicious irony!) — and I’m still floored by the nasty and even threatening comments made in response to the post.

If your ivory tower is collapsing, shouldn’t you be looking for a safe way out or a safe place to land?