Without being laid off or fired, you can’t legitimately claim to be a guru in the online news industry. It’s like getting bloodied in battle. For example, I think 2000 was the year when Steve Yelvington, Howard Finberg, and Leah Gentry were each laid off by their respective employers. You’d think that the most competent people would be the last to be let go, not among the first?
Add Gary Kebbel to that list. For the past several years, he was news director of America Online, the world’s single largest provider of online news (up to 24 million news users per month). Prior to that, Kebbel had been founding editor of USAToday.com and of Newsweek.com and also the front-page editor of Washingtonpost.com. He was among the people who AOL laid off last week.
God help an industry that lays off its best.