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Arizona Journalism

Tales from the inbox

Today I received an email from former co-worker Mark Waters, who happens to be one of the countless journalist laid off in 2009.

Early on Friday morning, a family’s Mesa home burned down. Tragic, of course, but it’s good to know that everyone got out safe thanks to smoke detectors. If anyone is interested in helping, click here to go to their church’s website, which is accepting donations for the family.

This post though, is not about the fire.

It’s about the email from Mark (whose house is in close proximity to the fire) that made me think and, yes, laugh. With his permission, I’m sharing it with you…

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“Did you hear about the house fire in Mesa today? That 2-story house that burned down is, ’scuse me, was right behind our house.

The police woke us up at 5 am and told us to get out. At one point, we had a ladder truck in front of our house shooting water over our house.

And later, Javier Soto from Channel 3 did three live reports from my ladder in our backyard.

I gave him my resume.”

Despite the fact the someone’s house burning down is not funny at all, I could not stop laughing picturing the scene, in which Mark networks with the TV station people and whips out his resume as flames rage in the background.

And who can blame him?

It’s such a casual email, but I found it to be a HUGE reflection of the times, and declining opportunities in the media industry, in which you gotta do what you gotta do, even if, literally, the building is on fire.

Everyone always says “network, network, network”, and any out-of-work journalist would have jumped at the opportunity to network in a situation like this one, where several members of the media have descended into your own house.

But this whole situation isn’t necessarily about journalists in particular, but about every single person out there who, through no fault of their own, find themselves unemployed. I give props to Mark for not letting the towering flames distract him from his goal to network and get back out there into the profession he loves.

“I got them coffee and water in between reports … talked quite a bit about how the economy has impacted broadcast journalism.”

As the economy improves, I have no doubts that there are plenty of employers out there who will see in Mark the kind of hard, dedicated worker who, despite having no immediate benefit, continues to be passionate about getting the stories out to audiences, whether it’s with video, graphics, multimedia, or just providing the ladder.

“I felt like I was part of a news team again.”

And I think that says it all.

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