Gannett: f------ evil

Dateline: Fri 06 Mar 2009

The word is that Gannett, which has a long and undistinguished career of ruining newspapers, now wants to break the back of the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild.

Management intends to propose during contract negotiations that the seniority clause go bye-bye -- the only safeguard older, veteran reporters have. In effect, the strategy is to pit younger reporters against those who have been there for a while in the inevitable money wars.

I've been re-reading the newspaper classic "The Chain Gang: One Newspaper versus the Gannett Empire" by Richard McCord. It's the story -- several stories, really -- of smaller newspapers that were run out when Gannett came to town -- not even because the alternative papers represented a serious threat, but just because the Big Hog wanted to own everything and get every penny of advertising dollars. The company is ruthless. It will stop at nothing, and now, mercifully, its stock is in huge trouble and it is flailing away on Wall Street. Still, its executives, including Star publisher Michael Kane and exec editor Dennis Ryerson, are well compensated. They represent the problem.

The Guild and all employees should walk out and strike 307 N. Penn. Star editorial writer Dan Carpenter, who truly champions lost causes, should lead the parade.

Will it happen? No. The gruesome scenario will continue to unfold: Gannett managers will bust the balls of any and every paper it can, all for the almighty dollar.

Also heard on the street: the Star will be the site of a universal copy desk, serving all of Indiana. This will mean the elimination of jobs at smaller papers in Indiana.

But what else is new?

Strike.

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