This is a quick post sent from Durham, NC, where I’ve been for a few days attending the Religion Newswriters Association annual meeting. I got to see quite a bit of Duke University, including my niece, Lauren, and just hobnob a lot with people in my profession. Miss Veeka stayed with a sitter and then with Jan and Uncle Rob for the weekend. Rob and I talked today and he is exhausted. Good training for being grandparents, I must remember to remind him.
I will say the job outlook for religion writers is bleaker than ever and there were quite a few of us hanging around with ‘freelance’ on our name badges who two years ago had stable jobs. Several people talked of upcoming layoffs at their newspapers and were unsure if they’d have jobs even a month from now. Others working in newspapers from Greensboro to Seattle, had their beats cut out right from out under them and found themselves assigned to topics they knew little of and cared less about. The way ahead is truly unclear; talked with one contact about getting a doctorate and the hoops he described having to jump through sounded quite numerous. Got several offers to freelance which for now will have to do.
Today there was a funeral for Carol Lee Cusachs, a dear friend who died Sept. 2 at the age of 66. We were very good friends in Houston and she was one of the people to whom I dedicated my “Days of Fire and Glory” book. I’m enclosing a photo of her and husband Choppy holding Veeka (who was looking pouty) when we visited Houston in early 2010. For a few years in the late 1980s, Carol Lee also served as a spiritual director and guide for me, as she did for a number of people throughout the years, so I was truly sorry that the breast cancer, which she struggled against for many years, finally did her in.
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