The good news: My blogging time has increased exponentially

Ken Stone, looking for work.

The bad news: I was laid off at work yesterday. Twenty-four years, three months and 14 days after joining San Diego’s metropolitan daily newspaper, I’ve lost my job. Now I’m a U-T orphan. The Union-Tribune was very good to me, giving me friends and skills and a handsome paycheck that allowed vacations around the country (and sometimes to Europe) in search of age-group PR’s and cool photos. But 35 extremely talented folks in the newsroom were given pink slips, and I was one of them. Here’s a typical report. I don’t know what my work future will bring, but I’m certain I’ll maintain my masters track friendships and activities. And nobody can threaten this blog! I already have a backlog of Q&A’s with record setters and other superstars. So stay tuned. You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!

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June 18, 2010

46 Responses

  1. kevin f forde - June 18, 2010

    Ken, so sorry to hear about the lay off,we just laid off 200 employees here at the hospital this week,theses are tough times we live in but as a wise man once told me”tough times don’t last,tough people do”
    Hang in there Union Tribune’s loss will hopefully be Masterstrack’s gain

  2. Mary Harada - June 18, 2010

    Sorry to hear that Ken. I hope a paying gig turns up for you soon.

  3. saladin allah - June 18, 2010

    Sorry to hear that, Ken….But something tells me you’ll be back -what ever you do- even better.


  4. Panama Kid - June 18, 2010

    How about a show on ESPN or another cable network dedicated to MASTER TRACK & FIELD !!!!!!!!!!

  5. peter taylor - June 18, 2010

    You must have a lot of energy, Ken, as your production for this Web site has been enormous. Many people are no doubt unaware of the time it takes to research just one story and then boil it down into an informative report. Your writing is at a very high standard, which means that your blogs are easy to read. Being clear is often a challenge, but you succeed admirably.

    I believe that the masters program could certainly justify giving you an annual grant for your work.

  6. Panama Kid - June 18, 2010

    Peter:Count on me if you need a the MASTERS PEOPLE.DAMM GOT IDEA

  7. Bill Collins - June 18, 2010

    Ken, Sorry to hear about the company down sizing, I know that something out there awaits you. You have and will continue to be a major part of the masters program. Like Pete stated, maybe a grant from USATF masters can be put in place until you find employment again. Many of us have felt the changes of these hard times, and we pray for you and all those that have lost jobs during these times. My best to you and the family, I say this from all the members of Houston Elite. Thank you for all the hard work and time you put into the blog.

  8. Rich Burns - June 18, 2010

    Hey Ken, sorry to hear the bad news! We hope that you’ll quickly find new employment. Thanks for everything you do.

  9. Gary R - June 18, 2010

    Ken, sorry to hear that. I think now you should make this your full time job. Let’s create national meets in every state for Masters. We can make this thing bigger and greater!

  10. Doug Spencer - June 18, 2010

    Ditto, Peter’s and Bill’s remarks !

  11. Margaret George Kaufman - June 18, 2010

    Ken, this is indeed sad news. I know your standards were high and the U-T will be the loser. The print media is suffering all across the board and of course they are trying to survive, but these are drastic remedies. You are invaluable to the masters track community and we appreciate all you have done and are doing to help create and sustain that community.

  12. Joanna - June 18, 2010


    Sorry to hear your news. I know that many newspapers are cutting staff these days. I hope you find a job real soon. All of us appreciate what you do for our sport.

  13. Tom Fahey - June 18, 2010

    Hang in there, Ken. This is only a temporary setback. The world needs good writers!

  14. Rita Hanscom - June 18, 2010

    Ken, old friend, in view of this bad news it seems cruel to wish you a Happy Birthday (it’s Ken’s birthday today everyone) but you know what they say, when one door closes, another one opens. You have many friends and admirers and your contributions to masters track are well-known. A bright, new future awaits you (and it will be WAY more fun).

  15. NOLAN SHAHEED - June 18, 2010

    Ken, We Masters athletes appreciate all that you have done to keep us informed and aware of the goings-on in Masters track and field.
    I hope you find GOOD employment soon and hang in there Ken. HAPPY BIRTHDAY

  16. Tony Echeandia - June 18, 2010

    Sorry to hear you lost your job. Keep your head up, something better is over the horizon!!!

  17. Kevin Paulk - June 18, 2010

    I wish you nothing but the best Ken. Thanks for the glue you are for us old track geeks. Who knows, maybe one day youngsters will want to hold a paper again, or book, or pause for a minute to enjoy the moment.

  18. Mike Shiaras - June 18, 2010

    Ken: First, Happy Birthday. Second, as my now departed Dad was fond of saying when things in life were not going well: “Son, it beats the hell out of the alternative!” Finally, the quality and quantity of your work on lulled me into forgetting that you had a day job. Thanks for everything.

  19. Doug Thompson - June 18, 2010


    I’m sorry to hear about this; nonetheless, Happy Birthday. As several folks have suggested, maybe there’s a way to generate some funds from your obsession with Masters track. I know folks that are making a living from web sites that aren’t as nice as this one; unfortunately track is not a paying proposition generally. Having said that, I would think there are advertisers that would want to reach your audience, and that certainly wouldn’t offend me as a reader. I’d be happy to brainstorm with you if you’d like.

  20. Byrke Beller - June 18, 2010

    What a drag! Sorry for you mate. Hopefully you’ll find something worthwhile soon. As for the blog, I know there are tons of masters runners who very much appreciate what you do!!

  21. peter taylor - June 18, 2010

    Ken: In addition to your blogging reports, you have helped the masters T&F community by “looking into things.” You find out for us from the authorities WHAT is supposed to happen or WHY something did not happen (OK, every once in awhile you’re wrong, but not many people are perfect).

    Here’s something that I believe is unprecedented: The people in charge of updating the entries for the Sacramento nationals have simply stopped updating them. In fact, they haven’t updated them since way back on June 16 at 1:04 PM Pacific.

    Is there any way for you to find out why they gave up this valuable service of updating the entry list? Certainly Mellow Johnny (a steeplechaser) and I (one of the Sacramento announcers) would want to know why.

  22. Jeanne Bowman - June 18, 2010

    Happy Birthday Ken and so sorry to hear about your layoff. I was just talking to one of my daughter’s friends that’s been working there for just 4 years. She told me that a new layoff was happening soon. Newspapers and the travel industry have a lot in common! I’m sure something new and exciting will come your way. A different niche. You are very much appreciated by all of us and especially your Strider’s teammates!

  23. Panama Kid - June 18, 2010


  24. Mellow Johnny - June 18, 2010

    Good catch there, PT. I was wondering the entries seemed to have come to a stand still. Sorry to hear about the layoff, Ken.

    We (teachers) gave up tons of concessions and are taking huge pay cuts in order to try and prevent people from having to be laid off.

  25. peter taylor - June 18, 2010

    Yes, Mellow Johnny, it’s pretty wild (failure to update). I’m guessing this is a shortcoming in Indianapolis. Interestingly, the open nationals (meet starts in 5 days, on June 23 in Des Moines) are still taking entries (they close tonight), and their entries ARE BEING UPDATED every hour (most recent update was a few minutes ago).

    For the open nationals, by no means a small event (they have 51 signed up for the 3000 steeplechase, for example — 27 men and 24 women), the deadline for regular entry was June 14, 9 days before the meet. And, as noted, they are still taking entries just 5 days before the meet.

    In the case of masters, as I understand it, all of this is out of the hands of the local group. For years, masters T&F has had an extremely early deadline for entry, and I suppose that will continue in the future. This has been true even though (a) the events (and the schedule) are essentially the same each year; (b) trials cannot be drawn up until after declaration, which is at the meet; and (c) the total number of entrants has never exceeded 1503.

    Will post again if and when the entries start being updated (I need to see where we are).

  26. don burkett - June 18, 2010

    Ken: Sorry to hear about the layoff but you will land something better soon. I love what you do for Masters Track and I will admit your blog is the first item I look at each morning before starting my day’s task.

    Good Luck!!!!!!

  27. Michael Daniels - June 18, 2010

    AS much time you put into this website I thought it was your job. Being the successful writer that you are I’m confident you will not be out of work for long. Stay focused and you will win.

    Happy Birthday.

  28. Jeff Davison - June 18, 2010

    Wish Ken Stone Happy Birthday on the Forum:

  29. peter van aken - June 18, 2010

    Ken, you are a good writer, and a better human being….luckily our 40,000 circ Gannett daily hasn’t had layoffs in 11 months, but conditions are still troubling, so I know the print media is still not out of the woods.

    Too many beginner hammer throwers look down as they turn, concerned about their footwork, so I advise them to “keep the chin up”. Maybe with your enforced free time, you can take up practicing a throwing event???

  30. Fidel - June 18, 2010

    sorry to hear it but it might be for the best. And, more blogs for us! I’ll contribute by buying something from your links. Maybe we can show our appreciation by having every blog reader buy something from your website links.

  31. Pam Immelman - June 19, 2010

    Hi Ken

    Sorry to hear, we know the feeling ! There is always S.A., if you come now you can report on the US team’s great draw yesterday !

    Your website will see you through and even produce a job – better than before !

    Kind regards

    Pam and Stan

  32. Michael Berkman - June 19, 2010

    I was laid off a year and a half ago, but in my business – TV Promotion – it’s not that unusual. I’ve been able to work VERY steadily as a freelancer since. Here’s what I’ve learned: Don’t get too deep into other non-work related projects, they can be time-sucks that distract you from getting work. Ageism definitely exists so good luck competing for jobs with 35 and youngers. Try not to blame yourself. Those dark thoughts will begin to creep in as time goes on. I have more advice but then again, every industry has it’s own sets of rules. Best of luck!
    Michael Berkman
    New York

  33. Shemayne - June 19, 2010

    Hey Ken, Hang in there. All will turn as it should. I actually thought you were retired given the enormous amount of time you put into Stay positive and best of luck!

  34. Friedel Schunk - June 19, 2010

    Ken, Sorry this had to happen to you. Keep a cool head and stay focused. It won’t necessarily make your birthday happier but the party will likely be full of good advice. All the best, und alles Gute.

  35. Lonnie Hooker - June 20, 2010

    Ken, Hang in there. Just went through unemployment myself. New opportunities await you.

  36. Robert und Annette - June 20, 2010

    Ken, was machen sie da mit Dir?

    Wir wünschen Dir viel Kraft und Energie und finden, eine ESPN-Show wäre wirklich ein guter Neustart.

    Die Koops

  37. Ken Stone - June 20, 2010

    Danke, Robert and Annette!

    You are my best German friends (aside from Phil, Christel and Stefan on this side of the Pond).

    Here is Annette’s blog post on my layoff:

  38. George Mathews - June 20, 2010

    Ken, Every knock is a shove. Your next gig will be even better. Great time to review your goals. Remember, Jill Geer works for an organization in Indianapolis and works and lives in the Boston area. T&F News? Maybe people will pay you for your blog or a super vatiation of it? I would. Maybe provide some additional service. In depth articles on meets,issues and items of interest. We pay for National Masters News, not to take anything away from them, but you provide a special take on our news. Maybe with more time, more news?
    How much will people pay and how many do you need to make it?
    Best of Luck, George

  39. Burr Daly - June 20, 2010

    Ken, been there, done that, no fun. But the real shame, in addition to your personal distress, is that as the newpaper business shrinks, real journalism shrinks. Your missives are well researched, a bit on the new journalism side but alway well researched and thought provoking. In any media presentation you’ve got to have an edge, a thought provoker but mainly be persuing the truth. You’ve got all of the above. I’m not going to give you any advice because I haven’t figured it all out yet. But good luck and I know you’ll be ok.

  40. Ed Whitlock - June 20, 2010

    All the best in the future Ken, I certainly hope you can keep up all the good work and initiatives you have done for the Masters movement.


  41. Suzy Hess-Wojcik - June 20, 2010

    I’m sorry, Ken. These are brutal times for the newspaper business. And, it touches so many people. Best of luck to you.


  42. Grant Lamothe - June 20, 2010


    Sorry to hear about your layoff, only too common in the publishing business these days, sad to say.

    But happy birthday and you will find better opportunities, I’m sure -you can’t keep a good journalist/reporter down!

    Happy birthday (you youngster, you) and maybe we’ll see you on the hurdles trail in Sacramento.

    Grant L.

  43. Henry Randolph - June 20, 2010

    It’s not the end of the world, Ken, though I can imagine leaving a gig that you loved after putting in all those years will take some digesting. Welcome to the freelance world; with the internet, you can write for clients worldwide. Let me know if you want to head in that direction and I’ll share a couple of websites with you where you can bid on writing projects. In the meantime, happy birthday and thanks for all your great work in fostering

  44. pino pilotto - June 21, 2010

    Caro Ken,
    Sono molto amareggiato di leggere che sei rimasto senza posto di lavoro!
    Tutta la comunità internazionale dei Masters è solidale con te: Siamo con te!
    La tua website “masterstrack” è la maggior fonte di informazione per i master di atletica leggera in tutto il mondo.
    Vedrai che per un giornalista delle tue straordinarie facoltà si apriranno nuove e interessantissime vie.
    Ti scrivo in Italiano, prendendo come esempio i “Koops”, per sottolineare la tua fama internazionale.
    Ken, Ti auguro buona fortuna

    Pino Pilotto, Lucerna

  45. Charles Wesley - June 22, 2010


    I just heard the news. You will be sorely missed in the newsroom–we needed your attention to detail. Keep up the great work here on your website.


  46. Panama Kid - June 27, 2010

    Peter Taylor:A grant from USATF MIGHT COME WITH “STRINGS”,Why dont we instead send Ken A LOVE OFFERING to HELP with the BLOG

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