The New York Times made an announcement this week that another 100 jobs will be going away and the conversations about the future of newspapers are roiling once again.

As a 25-year veteran of newspaper journalism who left the business a few years ago, it’s been like being witness to a slow train wreck as hundreds of my friends and former colleagues get laid off.  A few survive, many don't make it.

Every time another announcement is made, the forums and the conversations in the blogosphere heat up again.  Not long ago, I was reading the comments on a blog after a third round of lay-offs at a paper where I worked for several years. Comments generally had an angry drumbeat, fueled by feelings of fear, betrayal and outrage. Why didn’t industry leaders see this coming and stave off disaster, people wrote. What went wrong? How could corporate leaders have failed them so miserably?

One post took a different perspective, and was both a splash of cold water and fuel for the fire: Journalists themselves should have seen it coming, the writer contended. The signs were all there. The Internet had been chipping away at newspapers’ subscribers and advertising base for years. The newspapers’ old economic model had been at risk for at least a decade, and was clearly unsustainable now. In an industry dependent on advertising and subscribers to generate revenue, reinvention should have begun years ago. Leaders weren’t the only ones who should have seen it coming — so should have the people in the trenches.

The unspoken question was: What was YOUR contribution to this situation?

The post provoked a slew of mostly hostile responses from people in pain. Perhaps the timing of the comment wasn’t politic, but the point was valid.

It reminded me of a time in the late 80s when many large retailers were merging. Even paper was covering stories, on the front pages and in the business sections, about supermarkets, auto dealerships and department stores merging. Suddenly, where several companies had once purchased full-page ads, suddenly there were only one or two. Yet many journalists (including me were shocked when the sudden drop in advertising revenue precipitated cost-cutting and lay-offs. We hadn’t been connecting the dots that were there for us to see.

It’s another example of the importance of making everyone in an organization as literate about the business they can be. People throughout an organization need to understand the business of the business, what is at stake in the marketplace, and how success gets measured. Leaders need to make interdependencies visible and help people understand how what they do contributes to success and workers, those closes to the marketplace, need to make sure their leaders understand how work gets done.

By tapping into the collective wisdom in the organization, tricky business problems can be resolved more effectively and efficiently and it allows people to help create their own future and provides a sense of meaning at work. That is far more productive than false reassurances that “we have things under control,” or “things are out of our control” or “it’s your fault this is happening.”

Workers can stop colluding by naively believing that everything will be OK if they just focus on doing good work. They can choose to be accountable by paying attention, asking questions, getting educated about the marketplace and their business, economic conditions and how these things affect the enterprise. Everyone in the organization has a hand in creating what exists, and everyone has a responsibility for helping to create a sustainable future.