Friday, May 01, 2009

ZooToo Bad

(Note: That's "too bad" as in "unfortunate," not as in ZooToo being bad.)

Another job bites the dust. has ceased producing news videos and laid off most of its staff. The news does not shock me. If the recent stream of goodbye e-mails from departing employees wasn't enough notice the suddenly slow pay was another neon sign.

I talked with my editor, Robin, today. She is one of the few survivors, for now, and I wished her luck. The site will continue publishing print-style stories as well as the videos already commissioned. They have a story I produced back in February that couldn't be released because the subject was a shelter which was in the running for ZooToo's million-dollar makeover contest.

(The $1M is said to be coming directly out of ZooToo's founder's pocket.)

Now that the contest has ended, the story can go out. ZooToo already paid for that one and Robin assured me that payment for the alligator in love with the garbage truck story should go out soon.

Update (6/09): I have received the check.

It was a good gig while it lasted. I could pick stories that interested me and if Robin and her boss liked them, they'd pay me to put them to video. The stories made good portfolio fodder and it was good to get some recent work produced with my own equipment.

What's strange is that after the alligator story, I felt like the job had run its course. Maybe the early morning hours of the WTSP job had worn me down and I just needed a break.

I could also have felt pressure to live up to an apparently growing reputation. Shortly after the alligator story went out, Robin sent a highly laudatory e-mail about it to the entire staff that said, in effect, this is how good stories are done.

How do you top that? Looks like I'll never have to try.

Update (10/09): ZooToo has resumed limited production of new stories. Perhaps the door once closed is ajar again.

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