One-time film critic (remember when such a job description existed) at the Arizona Star Daily, Phil Villarreal smoothly transitioned to a regular reporter there in 2009. Way back when he had started at ASD as a freelance sports reporter.
This year, I had relocated to Tucson, AZ in time to enjoy his coverage. I was impressed.
Now, John Schuster tells us in "Media Watch" at the Tucson Weekly, ASD had laid off Villarreal. That was after 17 years of service. During that time he had won 10 awards.
When he got the "tap on the shoulder," as being cut from the team is now called, he wasn't allowed to even return to his desk. That bit of furniture can become embedded in a reporter's being. Also, his benefits ended that night. Here is Schuster's coverage.
In these times when even the monthly nut for Obamacare coverage can be hard to come up with, Villarreal faces some brutal realities. The marketplace is glutted with underemployed and unemployed journalists. Because of the glut, those contracting out work can offer peanuts for assignmetns.
My advice to Villarreal is to leverage his background in film to do promotional writing for public relations and marketing communications agencies which handle entertainment clients. The PR ones can be found in O'Dwyer's PR Directory, free online. The marketing ones would be listed under categories such as "Marketing Firms, New York or Los Angeles," "Entertainment Marketing" and so on. If he's determined he will ferret them out.
Another bit of entrepreneurship is for him to hustle his writing skills to film makers, both traditional and documentary. He may need to take a screenwriting course. Some of those assignments are listed on Craigslist under "writing" and "marketing" and Mediabistro.com. Eventually he can get an agent to place him.
In 1987, I received that tap on shoulder. Since then, I have been operating out here as a free agent. My only regret is that I hadn't pulled the plug earlier, on my own.
I invite Villarreal to sort out with me his opportunities and pain points. No charge. I'll pop for Starbucks. This change could work out well for him. He can reach me at email@example.com.