A few weeks ago a reporter from the Montreal Gazette contacted me. She was doing a story about how layoffs affect men, which she theorized was different that how they affect women. Someone had told her about me and my sudden job loss last May, and she thought I might have something useful to add to the article.
We spoke on the phone for a few minutes, and I suppose it was useful because she called back to say she’d like to send a photographer to get a shot of me to illustrate the article. I agreed, and the next day we did a quick photo shoot in a café near my (new) job.
That weekend the article was published in the Gazette. Nobody online seems to have seen it, but a lot of my analog friends did, along with people at work. Being part of the canada.com conglomerate, the Gazette circulated the article to many of the other papers in its network.
Last Saturday it surfaced at The National Post, this time bearing the unfortunate headline “A badge of shame.”
That headline is bad enough, but look how it was used in conjunction with an enormous photo of yours truly! Jeebuz H. Christ, what will the neighbours think? Thanks a bunch, National Post; you make me look like a kitten killer or a home wrecker! “Badge of shame?” WTF?
For the record, as you can read in the original Montreal Gazette version (titled “Men, Money, Anxiety”), I didn’t say anything about shame. Two of the other people interviewed (both unnamed) used that word, but I talked about fear. Unfortunately, I’m the only person in the article who ponied up my real name, and volunteered to be photographed, so someone at The National Post apparently thinks I wouldn’t mind having “A badge of shame” writ large under a photograph of me. (Update: The Gazette still has the annoying habit of removing stories after a certain amount of time has passed. Fortunately, the article is still available from the National Post, but without the original headline.)
(It should be noted that the author of the article, Lynn Moore, does not pick the headlines for syndicated versions of the article.)
Update: The Province, a Canwest (canada.com) tabloid in British Columbia, cuts to the chase. It snipped off the entire top three-quarters of the article and just published the part about me, under the headline “Man gets new job fast.” Ha!