How’s the crisis affecting you? Pt. V

Photojournalist Traci White sent in her comments on the way the crisis has changed her life and the town where she lives. Traci speaks Dutch, spent a summer photographing gay and lesbian lifestyles in the Netherlands, and works for the Danville Register and Bee in Danville, Va. She’s 24.

How has your life been affected by the economic crisis?

A year out of college, I have already had to reapply for my job as a staff photographer when my newspaper’s media corporation decided to “reorganize”  my paper. Each employee who was lucky enough to make it through the layoffs has taken two weeks of furloughs throughout the year, has had mileage compensation decreased, has had approved work-related travel distance shrunken, and no overtime permitted at all. We have also decreased the number of printed editions by leaving newstands empty and had our deadlines cut back by an hour because our paper is now designed and printed in another city.

I am so grateful to have a job that I try not to dwell on how difficult it has become to be a good journalist in such a barren media landscape, but it’s difficult to ignore when you’re confronted with these constraints at every turn.

What have you rethought, or what have you done differently because of it?

I have rethought my future career in print journalism, much as that breaks my heart. Even though I still have a job, seeing how tentative that security is has definitely motivated me to seek out freelance and become an associate with a wedding photography business to make up for the lost income this year. I’ve never been a big spender, but the other young professionals in town and I are more likely to stay in for a game night than a night out for bar hopping.

How do you think American culture will change because of the economic crisis? Have you seen changes already?

Danville, the town where I’m working, has basically been kicked while it was down by this economic crisis. More than 20% of the people in the town worked either in the textile mills or the tobacco warehouses, and in the past 15 years those industries have completely disappeared. As such, the unemployment rate has remained in the teens for most of the past decade, but it has surged close to 20 percent in the past year. An enormous colony of strip mall stores was approved for the city a year ago, and half of its stores remain unfilled, and their promise to bring jobs has proven empty as well. However, new businesses are slowly refilling the deserted warehouse and mill district by the river, and signs of economic progress can be found if you look hard enough.

I welcome your insight …

Julie.

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What is this blog?

The "Unstatic Blog" documents the changes going on around you and me. It will ask and answer — and then ask again — how is your world changing? Read and participate in the conversation.

stat⋅ic

/ˈstætɪk/ –adjective 1. pertaining to or characterized by a fixed or stationary condition. 2. showing little or no change: a static concept; a static relationship. 3. lacking movement, development, or vitality
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