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The reality of the newspaper merger finally hit me about mid-December when I received a $50 supermarket coupon from the newspaper as my holiday bonus. Like in years past, the coupon came in the mail with a Christmas letter from my publisher, Helen Copley.
Instead of her usual holiday message of good cheer, the letter talked about the "challenging time" faced by all of us on the staff in the face of the February 2 merger of the Pulitzer Prize winning San Diego Tribune and its morning sister paper, The San Diego Union.
What the letter really meant was that many of us receiving the Christmas bonus this year would not get one in 1992. I saw the dreaded "L" word, Layoffs.
In the shrinking universe of daily newspapers, this shotgun marriage probably will be unnoticed except by its readers and the few employees touched by its demise. I'm one of the reporter-vassals who has sweated since the merger was announced Sept. 11.
In all the grimness at the newspapers, it also has been a little wierd. Dick Cavett broadcasts radio commercials from our cafeteria, assuring us how wonderful The San Diego Union-Tribune will be. In a bizarre commercial, chubby psychics pitch the new, merged newspaper on television. "Hailstones the size of bowling balls will fall in El Cajon," predicts one spiritualist, whimsically reflecting the aura of unpredictability at the newspapers.
If that isn't enough, newscasters at 6 p.m. and 11 recount that "the mood is really grim in the newsroom
It was never this way on Lou Grant.
The following are excerpts from my daily journal.
At a seminar sponsored by the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, experts dispensed advice on how to cope with job loss. It is evident that as many as 60 writers may be forced from their jobs. One ironic …