I knew it would eventually come to this. The inevitablity of it all hung in the air like a dark and ominous cloud. When I read yesterday that the Minneapolis Star Tribune announced that it would miss its $9 million scheduled loan payment (source), I knew that the end was not around the corner, it was already here. Until I read the pronouncement, I could watch the Wall Street crisis/Bailout conundrum with emotional detachment. As I had stated in a previous post, since I have no investments, at least in the short term, I have no real dog in this fight.
Yesterday changed all of that.
I had warned my sister for years about the dying newspaper industry. I told her to begin thinking about other ways to explore and monetize her talent. But she would hear nothing of it. She loves newspapers, worked on them since the age of 18, when she signed on as a photographer for her college newspaper, The State News. And for nearly eight years, she has been a staff photographer for the Star Tribune. Earlier this year, when I asked what she was going to do in light of the seemingly insurmountable financial troubles her paper’s owners were experiencing, she seemed resigned to stay on until the end.
To say that photography is her life is an understatement. As a child, she used to take pictures with my father’s old camera. Recognizing that her photos were exceptional for someone her age and experience, I, her older, but not always wiser sister, gave her a camera of her very own and an accompanying scrapbook, for her 12th birthday.
It breaks my heart. (And yes, I have a heart, albeit a small one) to know that, in the not-to-distant-future, she, who has lived and worked her passion, may no longer be able to do so. At her core, she is a photographer — more specifically — a photojournalist. She has photographed presidents and other persons of stature. But she also has, through her photos, told of the daily challenges and triumphs of ordinary citizens.
And so here we are. Despite the Senate’s passage of the “bailout” or rather “rescue” package, the market is still declining. (Nearly 200 points as of this writing). And credit for even the best of businesses and individuals is hard to come by. Because of a lack of cash and depleted resources, it looks like what was once was off the table — a bankruptcy filing — is now practically an inevitabilty for the owners of the Star Tribune.
And, for my sister, what once was once a promising career and a lifelong passion, may come abruptly to an end.
The Star Tribune announced on January 15, 2009 that the paper has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. (source) This is one of those time that I hate being right.
Read in the MinnPost that Star Tribune employees “showed up to work to find they were unable to cash some recently issued paychecks and use company credit cards to pay for business expenses after the newspaper filed for bankruptcy last night. The newspapers this afternoon asked a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York for authorization to pay employees, vendors and the delivery crews.” (source) To quote Good Times matriarch Florida Evans, “Damn. Damn. Damn.”