Commercial Appeal Editor To Staff: "Work From a Coffee Shop."

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Are you lonesome tonight?
  • Are you lonesome tonight?
Before cracking the latest, darkest chapter in a seemingly endless series of dark chapters, about the last dark days of the Commercial Appeal, it might be helpful to remind readers why the CA's parent company Gannett is exactly like one of the voracious, many-tentacled gods inhabiting the nightmare world of horror maestro H.P. Lovecraft.

Lovecraft's deities are terrifying because they aren't supernatural. On the contrary, like sprawling media companies in possession of properties in distant, disconnected markets, they follow a system of natural laws far beyond the scope of human understanding. They are essentially materialist, trans-dimensional beings originating somewhere else in the multiverse and, as such, they are indifferent to any  suffering or destruction caused by self-interested incursion into the human realm. So too, enormous media conglomerates pursue agendas that are so far removed from the basic needs of Jane and Joe Subscriber from Anytown USA, it becomes impossible to accuse executive leadership of malice, no matter the resulting chaos. The madness is evident in everything from Gannett's gutting of local news staff, to its reliance on unknown editors from far away places who can't be expected to know the landscape.

As bad as it all sounds, the worst was only prelude to unspeakable terrors lurking just beyond the horizon. See, The Commercial Appeal's a ghost these days — a ghost running on a skeleton crew. Its longtime home at 495 Union is for sale, and even when the enormous structure is occupied during much-reduced business hours, vast expanses lie empty, unused and unknown. Who knows what fell creatures lurk in the cold gloom of the parking lot, let alone the ragged wastes between circulation and the morgue? If I worked in a building possessed by some outside entity with interests so utterly unconcerned with my own, I know I'd probably dock my laptop at the neighborhood coffee shop instead of my cubicle. And judging by this actual, sad, verbatim memo from the CA's newly installed Executive Editor Mark Russell, that's what management suggests as well: Get Out!!!

"A few updates:

*Starting today (Monday), building security in The CA’s 495 building has been reduced to 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For this week, if you work after 5, and need an escort to your car, please ask a colleague to accompany you. If you are worried about working in your department alone after, say, 6 or 7 p.m., please consider leaving at 5 to work from a coffee shop, home or some other location that has what you need and where you feel secure. And the same thing goes for someone starting at 6 a.m. Please work from a coffee shop or home if you are worried about being safe coming in at 5:45 before security starts this week. Later this week, I will update you on the security plans going forward when I know more."
But does he really want to know more? Is it worth the madness to come?

(Click the vid to hear the memo read aloud in the style of Welcome to Night Vale)


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