In yet another blow to the local media landscape, just a week after the Times-Picayune fired half of its editorial staff, upper management at Room 220 announced they would begin enforcing a compulsory furlough for the publication’s employees beginning Monday, June 18. The furlough will last roughly three weeks, with regularly scheduled content to resume in early July.
A managerial team member familiar with the situation who asked not to be named for “for fear of losing my fucking job, why do you think?” said the furlough is a cost-saving measure implemented in the face of budget shortfalls. Like most major news organizations, Room 220‘s revenues have taken a hit thanks to the sluggish economy, crumbling ad-based profit models, and the increasing sense of not-giving-a-shit-because-everything-is-fucked-anyway among former news-readers in the United States.
The biggest complaint among Room 220 employees was the way in which management announced the furlough with no prior warning or indication that anything was awry (though most understood that volunteering for a literary blog does not quite amount to career solidity).
“I wish they would have told us at least this weekend,” said Taylor Murrow, a writer. “I would have slept in this morning, since I have a restaurant shift to work tonight.”
Nathan C. Martin, editor of Room 220, said he was confused as to why management would choose a furlough as a cost-saving measure, since no one at the organization is paid.
“I do this for free, and so do my writers,” Martin said. “All of us have other jobs. Not like those poor bastards at the T-P with mortgages and families and lives on the line. My heart goes out to them. Hell, I’m looking forward to taking a break from this for a little while.”
Martin suggested that if the organization really wanted to save money, it could try renting the Room 220 URL temporarily to other organizations that are housed in room 220 of whatever building they occupy, or perhaps cap the amount of alcohol provided at events, though both would likely be met with disdain from loyal Room 220 patrons, particularly the latter.