I Just Got Laid Off and I Need a Job
May 2008

by David Bitton

10.65 GB.

That's what I have to show after being laid off after five years at The Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colo.

While transferring files from the newspaper's archive system to a 500 GB external hard drive it became painfully clear that only a fraction of the hard drive would be used to store my work that appeared in print.

I thought I was staying ahead of the curve by volunteering to be the first person in the photography department to learn video. I attended the Platypus workshop a year ago and loved what I learned. I learned the nuts and bolts of doing things the right way. I also realized that storytelling with audio and video is still storytelling. It is still journalism.

I returned to the newspaper excited and ready to help build a quality product. The newspaper bought me the right gear and I started producing stories at the highest level I could. I learned by trial and error while leaning on fellow photojournalists around the country that knew more than I.

I eventually started training two fellow photographers at the newspaper to shoot and edit. They have produced a couple of stories each and are excited to keep learning.

Unfortunately, they are now on their own. I loved my time at The Gazette and I could have seen myself working there my entire career. I worked with a group of talented photojournalists and I liked my boss. Why leave?

The Gazette has laid off about 25 percent of its newsroom staff over the past year. I know it's not the only newspaper out there laying people off in large numbers, but it's getting crazy. Heck, I was the video guy! Newspapers aren't laying off those types, are they? They spend a big chunk of money training me and then let me go? The newspaper continues to push more resources toward the Web and I thought – no, I knew -- that I had the best job security in the building. The company had just sent me to Iraq to cover Fort Carson soldiers during their 15-month deployment.

They wouldn't lay me off, right?


Layoffs can hit anyone in this industry and at any time. There is never a good time to lose your job. My daughter turned 6 weeks old the day I was let go. I was told it all came down to money and that I'm eligible for re-hire if the industry rebounds.

I love journalism and I have no plans to leave the industry to which I've given 15 years of my life. I enjoy being a historian of our time and telling stories. I've worked too hard and I still have much to learn and offer. I hope to land on my feet and help my next newspaper staff develop their online product into something we can be proud of.

So if you're looking for an ambitious photojournalist/multimedia producer to help bring your staff up to speed on video, I'm available to start filling your hard drive.

© David Bitton

David Bitton has been making pictures for newspapers since 1993. As a child, he was always around journalism. His father, Dennis Bitton, ran a nation-wide fly-fishing magazine out of Idaho Falls, Idaho. He got his first break in 1998 when he landed a job at The Signal in Los Angeles county. This is where he learned the nuts and bolts of the business and how to deal with daily deadlines. He then moved to the Bay Area to finish up his bachelor's degree in photojournalism at San Jose State University. While there, he interned at The (Colorado Springs) Gazette, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Modesto Bee and the Post Register. He took first place in the William Randolph Hearst photojournalism contest as a student. Since joining the photo staff at The Gazette in 2003, Bitton has traveled to the Middle East twice for the paper. He recently visited Iraq while covering Fort Carson soldiers during a deployment. Bitton continues to learn and grow as a journalist and has started producing videos after gaining knowledge at the Platypus Workshop.

David Bitton
2208 Gilpin Ave.
Colorado Springs, CO 80910