Friday, August 6, 2010

More weekend reading

(via Flickr: jj_pappas423)
Set aside time this weekend for these worthwhile reads:

"Analysis: Why did 1.2 million U.S. workers leave job force?" (Reuters): The U.S. Department of Labor today posted job statistics for July that showed nonfarm payroll falling by 131,000, but -- as occurred in June too -- the unemployment rate not bouncing higher. One possible explanation is that more people are moving to the sidelines, discouraged after many months of looking and so giving up their search. According to Reuters, the labor force participation rate "dropped to 64.6 percent in July, matching the lowest level since 1985." Remember that the ratio of jobless worker to available opening is still close to 5-to-1.

And speaking of the long-term unemployed:

"99 weeks later, jobless have only desperation" (New York Times): Left in the cold when unemployment benefits were extended in July were people who already had claimed as many weeks of benefits as is currently allowed: 99. Although there have been attempts to change that maximum, the concern now is the growing deficit -- matched by a growing belief that the longer the benefits, the greater the disincentive to search for work. But as the Times story recounts, for the 99ers, "The last vestiges of their former working-class or middle-class lives are gone; it is inescapable now that they are indigent."

"Hard times working the Patch" (Media Nation blog): Dan Kennedy, assistant professor at the School of Journalism at Northeastern University in Boston (and no relation to me), publishes on his blog an email he received from a local editor at Patch, the fast-growing network of online community news sites owned by AOL. Just as Associated Content (now owned by Yahoo) and Demand Media (which today filed its long-expected prospectus to sell stock to the public) are seen as experiments in revenue-generation in journalism, so too is Patch, which helps put in business individuals interested in reporting on their towns and neighborhoods. AC and Demand have been criticized for their pay models; Patch for its one-guy-does-it-all design. The email confirms that work at what might be the next iteration of local-news coverage can be all-consuming: "Basically, the job is 24/7 with so far little support in getting any kind of time off."

"For Communication grads, a tough job market" (Project for Excellence in Journalism): Each year, the University of Georgia surveys journalism and mass communication graduates to see how they're doing in the real world, and the picture for the Class of 2009 was downright ugly: just over half of the graduates were able to find full-time work in a year's time, a record low in the history of the 24-year-old study. And if not getting a job was bad, worse still was the lower salaries and benefit seen by those who did land a job, the study said.

Finally, there's this gem, which I was alerted to via Twitter the other day:

"The Confessions of Bob Greene" (Esquire, from 2003): It's a loooooooong article about the fall of the former Chicago Tribune columnist. Tweeting a link to it was, a group that loves "great long-form reads" and a product it thinks displays them well. I can't speak for the product, but the article is worth every minute of your time.

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