Not THAT elephant in the corner...

Dateline: Mon 17 Aug 2009

At a recent social gathering, a woman who contributes an occasional op-ed column to the Indianapolis Star was holding forth on the future of newspapers: not good, for all the reasons we all know. She cited her relationship with exec editor Dennis Ryerson to make a larger point.

"Dennis would NEVER ask me to hold a column," she said. "Never." she added, emphatically, going on about how much she loves the Gannett boss in Indy and what a wondcerful relationship they have.

But then it happened.

"He called me..., and he said, '------, I hate to ask you to hold this column, but I have to. I'm laying off 37 people."

The column's subject? Newspapers are dying. Please, kill that column, dear, so I can fire 37 people and turn them out to the non-existent bread lines.

I almost choked on my beer when I heard it. Instead, I walked away; I was afraid if I stayed, there would be more than spilled beer on the table...

The anecdote illustrates at a very large and sadly personal level, the problem with the newspaper business, not just in Indianapolis but elsewhere. It also serves as an opportunity to spank those "sensitive liberals," which this writer is, and Ryerson is, who refuse to take a stand. Nice people, sure. But woe to those who are lukewarm.




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