The intern who dared to praise an editor’s layoffs speech

Reader Matt Mendelsohn emailed me yesterday:

I liked the Blue Ball story, being a former Gannetoid. But more recently, I always wonder what happened to that intern in Florida who [blogged] a few years ago that her boss was so right for firing all those folks and sticking with hyper local coverage. Do you you remember who I’m talking about?? Jessica somebody???

I always wondered if she went on to make it in journalism or whether she’s a victim of her own tweet.

Jessica DaSilva

To back up a bit: Former Tampa Tribune intern Jessica DaSilva became a bit of a journalism celebrity in July 2008 for her blog post about editor Janet Coats’ layoffs announcement. The editor (she left the paper in 2009) said: “We can see a better future for journalism right across the bridge on the other side, but the bridge is on fire, and if we just stand here, we are going to burn up with it.” She added: “People need to stop looking at as an add on to The Tampa Tribune. The truth is that The Tampa Tribune is an add on to TBO.”

The intern wrote on her blog:

People might be angry or frightened by what Janet is saying, but she’s right, and they need to start recognizing that. She is doing this because she cares. That woman is not only carrying the burdens of an entire newsroom on her shoulders, but the burdens of a community entitled to quality news. And I know she’s taking the right steps. …

I wanted to tell her how much I supported what she did, but I didn’t want to interupt. Plus, I’m just an intern. But if I had the chance, I would have said this:

Janet, you’re my hero, and I think this is worth fighting for too.

There were 160 comments below that post.

Jay Rosen wrote: “NEWSROOM ID EXPLODES LIKE FIREWORKS OVER INTERN’S UPBEAT BLOG POST.” Jeff Jarvis said the intern “recorded the event with appropriate admiration.” One of DaSilva’s good friends blogged about it too.

Did this controversial young woman go on to make it in journalism?

No. She’s now a second-year law student.



1 comment
  1. Dave said:

    Perhaps when Jessica earns her law degree, she will be able to explain to us how mid-size dailies such as the Tribune are going to make money on the Internet. . .