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Discourse Blogmergency: Katherine Has Been Laid Off!
Here's how you can help.
Good morning! I usually use this slot to do a blog about The News—looks like those clowns in Congress did it again, what a bunch of clowns!—but today, I’m putting that aside, because one of our own Discourse Blog family members needs our help.
I speak, of course, of Katherine. On Thursday, she was laid off from her job at Elle along with at least 40 other people across the Hearst media empire.
So why am I telling you this? Because this is the first time since Discourse Blog started that one of us has found ourselves in this situation. Over the past few years, a bunch of us switched jobs or fled the professional equivalent of burning buildings, or were let go while another job was waiting in the wings—or, in my case, staggered around for a while until I got a good job (shoutout to The Nation, none of this is about you I swear!!!)—but nobody had been unceremoniously flung into the cosmos like this. In today’s media landscape, that is rather astonishing, but now our streak is over.
I have been working alongside Katherine (who, by the way, gave me permission to write this post) for almost seven years now, in circumstances ranging from good to horrific. I have probably edited thousands of her blogs. We have been through what might delicately be called “a lot” together, along with the rest of our crew. So you can trust me when I say that Elle has made a serious mistake in letting her go. Actually, you don’t need me to vouch for her, because you read her work here on Discourse Blog all the time. It’s an act of madness to lay Katherine off, just as it would be to lay Cros, or Sam, or Caitlin, or Rafi, or Aleks off.
But our industry is not, by and large, in the hands of sensible people. It’s in the hands of craven nitwits who see their workers as machines to be bled dry and discarded, not as human beings who can help sustain and nurture their businesses. They spray money wildly in every direction but the right one—toward the employees who produce the work and thus actually know what they’re doing—and then throw up their hands and proclaim that everything is all wrong. They cater to the whims of venture capitalists and shareholders who have literally zero interest in journalism except as a profit extraction tool. And over and over and over again, when the time comes to pay the price for their failures, the ones signing the checks are always the workers, who are forced to scrabble around for the ever-dwindling number of stable media jobs that still exist. The bosses collect their bonuses and kick back, and the cycle begins again.
Which brings me back to Katherine, and to why Discourse Blog matters so much to her, and to me, and to the rest of us. As I said, we have been working together since 2016. We started at Fusion, which was torn down and rebuilt as Splinter in 2017. Splinter was shut down in 2019. We started Discourse Blog in early 2020, and are still here three years later. If you’re doing the math, you will have noticed that Discourse Blog is the longest-running venture we have been a part of together in the past seven years.
That is not by accident. It’s because a media conglomerate doesn’t own Discourse Blog—the seven of us do. We answer to nobody but ourselves, our readers, and our consciences. We try new things all the time, but only because we want to, not because some idiot in the C-suite told us to. And I like to think that the work we produce—from the most serious to the silliest—reflects this freedom in a good way.
We can also do this because of you, our readers. You have read our work and stuck with us through very turbulent times and sustained us both literally and figuratively. I know we say this a lot, but this means the world to us. And right now, it is your support that is giving Katherine a little cushion during a very difficult time.
Katherine needs a job, obviously, so if you know of a good one or a nice freelancing opportunity, please let us know at email@example.com. But you can also help by continuing to support Discourse Blog.
Discourse Blog is more than just a website for us. It’s a way for us to truly operate without fear or favor, to bring you news and commentary and fun in a way that very few other places will. It is a port in the storm, an expression of who we are, a source of stability and pride, a place we can count on in a field that gives us precious little to count on. So please: if you value what we do here; if you value our ability to rely on this place amid such turmoil; if you want to ensure that it keeps being here for you and for us; subscribe, or tell your friends to subscribe, or give a gift subscription, or pass one of our blogs on to someone. We promise it’s a good deal, and we promise that you won’t regret it.
Thanks, as always, for reading. Let’s go help Katherine. Oh, and fuck off Elle!