Oh, Dennis

Dateline: Fri 10 Jul 2009

Did anyone catch the interview WISH TV-Channel 8 did with exeuctive editor of the Indianapolis Star Dennis Ryerson tonight?

You can read it on the Channel 8 web page under Eric Halvorson's blog, "Paper Cuts."

I cannot believe Ryerson. After his company has fired 33 people, including numerous Star editors/managers who were let go without any severance -- as reported here -- Ryerson then had the big fat nerve to suggest that the cuts really were not that bad.

His logic?

"Only one reporter" was let go. That was a reference to longtime features writer/former Arts and Entertainment editor Zach Dunkin, who has suvived more Star shakeouts than Toto's rag doll in a tornado.

But what a putdown by Ryerson of the other 32 people who lost their jobs over a two-day blood-letting: the paraprofessionals, online gurus, librarians, maintenance workers, photographers, printers, copy editors, graphic designers and editors who were dismissed without cause.

Ryerson always liked to joke that he is a recovering Norwegian -- meaning, he just wants to have fun.  Guess what? His recovery is a total failure. He's in Norwegian relapse: he showed himself tonight to be a cold, heartless man who is incapable of expressing remorse for the suffering he caused, or even acknowledging it.

"It's the economy, stupid" -- Gannett's latest arrogant defense -- does not cut it. Corporate remains intact; Ryerson and Star publisher Michael Kane and their flunkies' jobs in HR, marketing, online, blah blah, are secure, their salaries as bloated as ever.

Ryerson also shared his vision for the future with WISH. The paper will have to restructure. Guess what that means -- everyone will have to work longer hours for less pay. Readers will be asked to write more stories and send in more photos.

Get out.





Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Reading that article on WISH made the hair on the back of neck stand up. Extra blood pressure medicine for me tonight.

Tell me, Ruth, does this guy have a tail and carry a pitchfork? I've never met him, thank God.

He's basically saying: "Well, we had to let loose a few insignificant people who aren't important and who don't really mean anything to me and to the newspaper and to my 'Higher Power'...and, for that matter to the universe in general."

How does this man sleep at night!!!!!?????

2009-07-11 00:03:15

ruthholl [Member] said:

That's how it came off to me.
He's one of those guys, tho, if you work with him, if you don't really get to know him, he seems like an OK guy. As one editor said of him a while back, he's the kind of executive editor who prefers to be out in the community rather than in the newsroom: he likes making nice, being part of the city social scene, etc. But that can be OK, as long as that sort leaves the newsroom in peace. I really feel he does not identify with journalists.
I re

2009-07-11 01:14:24

ruthholl [Member] said:

More to say: he's more allied with corporate interests, but he does fool a lot of people. Sad to say.
Also, he is bland enough that people sort of fall for him...bland and superficially hip.
Anyhow, he could do a hell of a better job standing up for reporters and working press.
The fact that he does not should tell you all you need to know.
Now let's all get some sleep...

2009-07-11 01:17:09

EdwardZ [unverified] said:

If the people laid off in this round were so dispensable, people like Jackie Thomas, say (I assume this what Dennis is suggesting with his "not so bad" characterization) why didn't he lay off these "dispensable" people months ago and retain good and productive writers like Whitney Smith and Chris Lloyd, among many others, who got the ax in previous layoffs?

2009-07-11 06:32:12

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Well, if Mr. Mary Milz is someone you "really don't get to know" I'd just observe: he's had a lot of practice at faking it.

A despicable human being. Superficially nice with an earring doesn't cut it. It's what is in your heart, and your head. His head is clearly effed up with Gannett BS. His heart is, well...refer to my earlier comment.

He needs to get real or get out. He'd be happier, his staff would be better off, and we'd all read a better product.

See how easy it is to solve some problems?

2009-07-11 08:31:32

hendy [Member] said:

This is a company guy.

His head will be patted by mgmt, which like many organizations, is hierarchical and in the belief that the serfs/slaves are somewhat dispensable and replaceable. In fact, sadly, they are.

He's likely to be promoted, sadly, as is the dysfunctionality proposed by _The Peter Prescription_. This is not a champion among people, rather, a member of the upper class, whose position is protected.

If you don't get over this reality, you'll have to deal with it anyway. The structure of the organization is why this happens, and why it tends to promote this attitude among management. That's not to condone it, rather to explain it.

Company man. Grunt.

2009-07-11 09:58:10

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

The Peter Principle personified, Hendy. Maybe. When I read that book, I had another type of person in mind, but it'll suffice as an explanation for now.

If Dennis weren't here, someone else would chop off these heads. But he went on TV to "explain" it and actually stepped in crap.

He has an insatiable need to be accepted and liked, and to be seen by the community. What I don't understand is, why do we feed it?

If we all ignored him he'd curl up and die.

2009-07-11 12:25:41

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

None of these comments have convinced me that this guy doesn't have a tail and doesn't carry a pitchfork.

There's good, there's bad. Simplistic? Ask Plato. Or, remember the German Army officers' "just obeying orders" pronoucements following WWII?

I lived in a tent for a period of my life when I was younger and I would go live in one again before I would sell out all of these good, solid, veteran journalists. His CO-WORKERS, by the way.

Thanks for not reading the crap that he calls his Sunday column. I won't be.

2009-07-11 15:34:58

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

A quick addendum to my angst-ridden comments on this post:

The issue raised here, from my understanding of it, is
not so much about a boss firing a bunch of employees.
Hendy, I acknowledge: this indeed has historically been the "American Corporate Way."

The issue is that he does it and then goes Stepford Wife about the good people who he has just sent to the unemployment line.

Get fired, then get publicly "dissed." What a nice parting gift to give to his former co-workers!


2009-07-11 15:51:03

hendy [Member] said:

Read _The Sociopath Next Door_ for more insight as to how merrily some individuals can perform great acts of immorality, and do so without guilt.

The kiss-off part of it is perhaps the slimiest. However, we don't know just how much he might be churning inside. Some of us might hope that he needs Zantac for the rest of his life. Others see the symptoms of corporate dictum and wonder what we might do in his shoes. Still others may decry the seeming joviality of it all. The seeming paradox in his actions seem to be based on simple greed and survivorship, rather than esprit d'corp and community.

I was in corporate America. For eleven years now, I've been a solo act (with tremendously capable contractors). The laws we live by in terms of at-will-employment are pretty rough because they're seemingly arbitrary. Within the constraints of needing to make a profit and pay bills, tough choices are made. For me, they were never gleeful, and the most amount of sleep I lost (save the mindless post-9/11 choices GWB made) were over who might need to be sacked to ensure profitability during down times. The angst, horror, and sadness were huge. Then I had to do it. Never was it fun of any kind. At the time, it was a choice that had to be made, otherwise the bank could shut us down and put us all on the street-- including some of our vendors and maybe even customers. It takes courage to make tough choices.

But you don't sack someone with glee..... unless you don't have a heart. Even if we have forgiveness in our hearts, we also have long memories.

2009-07-12 11:22:29

John Howard [unverified] said:

Speaking of 'send in more photos,' their 'Capture Indy' project has been going full steam ahead and has another month to go. I couldn't help but notice a large number of photos were from the Star's (ex) photo staff.

It almost seemed like they were directed to fill out the portfolio with their work (for free, of course).

Although it's not a contest persay, it's still wierd that pros are vying with amateurs for space in the book that ultimately results from this gratis source material (which all proud 'winners' can buy at a 'discount,' of course).

2009-07-12 12:37:59

ruthholl [Member] said:

This company knows no bounds -- it will sink to any level to accomplish its mission: make money.

Thank you all for the comments.

I have read the Sociopath Next Door. Interesting read.

Again, thanks....it's refreshing that people get it, and are not afraid to speak out.

2009-07-12 20:37:48

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