Chris's choice

Dateline: Thu 10 Sep 2009

 

Check out former Star reporter Chris Lloyd's blog to see what he did with his severance check from Gannett.

 

Comments

susan [unverified] said:

Brilliant.

As I suit up for my sh*tbird job, I'll take Chris's words with me.

2009-09-11 10:24:26

DwightSchrute [Member] said:

Chris - I wiser choice than just ripping it up or setting it on fire (a fire that might have kept the Gannett executives a little warmer in HELL!!)

2009-09-11 10:24:39

hendy [Member] said:

Principles and righteousness are interesting pedestals for virtue. Virtue doesn't pay the bills, but sometimes that's ok.

What I found in the video was a guy with bus tire tracks on his back, behaving with dignity.

We need more of that, as a civil denominator. Thus the Guild, and The Star are damned for business expediency. The problem is that people will deal with boors, even after the boors are identified and their laundry is hung out to dry on YouTube. There'll be an interregnum, then it'll be business as usual. Forgiveness is such a strange virtue.

So it goes.

2009-09-11 12:30:21

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Without question, the most valuable You Tube video I've ever watched. A gallant man with principle galore.

Dwight--funny you mention flames. I was thinking throughout the video, that this guy's gonna bust out of his calm mode and break out a Bic lighter and ka-poof! It would've been hilarious.

But much less virtuous.

Mazel tov, Chris. Look up "mitzvah," and this act fits the definition perfectly.

2009-09-11 16:42:31

Ed Stanyan [unverified] said:

Well, judging by the foregoing comments if the reason Chris made and posted this video was to get atta-boys and be told he was a class act he succeeded in that.

What the video shows me, however, is someone apparently eager to announce how noble and unselfish he is. Chris' is an act of charity and principle the public display of which is rather gauche some would say.

(And Chris' rather aimless, rambling video suggests the check might have been better spent on a teleprompter if he's going to be doing more of these things.)

OK we can all admit that Gannett is a big bad company. Especially those of us who worked there.

But to me Chris missed the mark. If he wanted to make a video that underscored the point that really needs making he would do one that rips his former Guild comrades, whose votes essentially sold him -- and others -- out. That's where the blame this time around resides. It wasn't Gannett that caved on his grievance; it was his union. With solidarity like that who needs to Gannett to call out for duplicity?

Maybe at Christmas Chris will make another video in which he publicly signs over his Guild Kroger Christmas gift certificate to a food bank. That might come closer to the mark.

2009-09-14 11:48:42

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Ed, er Ebeneezer, who peed in your oatmeal?

It's an amateur video that may ramble, but which shows us an unselfish act.

Is that so rare these days, that you feel the need to stomp on it?

Gauche, indeed. Only if you use the definitional range of a curmudgeonly sourpuss.

Cruella DeVille's got nuthin on you, pal.

2009-09-14 16:09:18

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

I agree with Ed that the video was rambling, and rather than hit the Guild members who sold out The 7, Chris tossed a match at Gannett. Which will go unnoticed.

Brevity makes the point better.

And T3, me oatmeal tastes fine.

2009-09-14 17:11:06

ruthholl [Member] said:

I think there is some justifiable anger at the Guild vote. Chris chose the high road.
But many of us remain disappointed in the union's decision to throw former colleagues to the curb and under the bus, thus contributing to the wreck.
I really do not believe that the Star will ever hire these people back. It's over. Life goes on.

2009-09-14 19:11:54

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Evidently in the age of 24/7 cable news, YouTube and similar media, the "high road" isn't valued as much. Sad.

Tom, if your oatmeal tastes fine on this score, you need an adjustment of some kind.

I, too, would've liked to have seen the Guild blamed, but there are no winners here. Chris chose to do something positive. Geeeesh, why is that so difficult to udnerstand, and why does it deserve such criticism?

The Guild has to survive as a viable entity, if only to be some check against the owners' complete greed and takeover. As long as The Guild is at the table, they can't be shut out.

If The Guild is trashed repeatedly, it's weakened. Do you truly think the Guild officers wanted to throw those staffers under the bus?

It all could've been handled better, no doubt. But Chris did an admirable thing. And if you stop 100 people on the Circle, brief them on these events, and ask their opinion afterwar, 95 of them are going to agree.

2009-09-15 06:54:27

RoxyP [unverified] said:

Yes, admirable Chris. Too bad there aren't more people like him in the Guild.

I don't accept the Guild is weakened by people trashing it. The Guild is weakened by its members, the gutless majority of which just voted for self-interest over the collective interests of membership: in this case by failing to stand by fellow members who had legit grievances. That's who Chris ought to be taking to task his film.

As Ed said above, with solidarity like we see in the Guild who needs Gannett to call out for duplicity....

2009-09-15 08:11:49

George Stuteville [unverified] said:

Ed: I am so thankful I am not as cynical as you.

2009-09-15 08:33:51

Christopher Lloyd [unverified] said:

I'd planned to stay out of this thread -- I think my exact words when Ruth asked me if she could link to my video were "Please don't make a big deal out of it." Ah, well.

But to those who think I should be ripping the Guild, I have to respectfully disagree.

In case anybody hasn't figured it out yet, the entire point of this contract process was to weaken the union. The company could enact any pay cuts they wanted, of any size, at any time, on the hundreds of non-unionized workers at the Star. The reason they haven't is because they want to set Guild members against each other.

So dumping on people who were shoved into a corner and forced to do something distasteful is not only (imho) immature; it plays right into the company's strategy.

2009-09-15 09:58:32

Faith Forth [unverified] said:

For we people of faith, Chris’ film poses the question: Is it ever okay for a Christian to do charity work in a public way?

The passage that directly addresses this is Matthew 6:1-4: Be careful not to do your “acts of righteousness” [or alms, or acts of charity] before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy [that’s journalist these days, right?], do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Then there's: “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men”

Jesus warns His disciples not to do their alms before men “to be seen by them.” Presumably this applies to YouTube videos. That this was directed against having the self-righteous motives of the scribes and Pharisees can be observed directly in Matthew 23:27-28 where Jesus calls them “whited sepulchers,” saying, “Even so do ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

Now among us there are few that would call Chris a “whited sepulchers” (although we do know from the posting he did on his blog that recounted his campaigning for a no-vote at the union hall prior to the contract vote that his complexion is subject to sun burning.)

2009-09-15 12:05:17

hendy [Member] said:

There are characters, and then there are people with character. The SPJ is richer not because of a contribution from the 'guild', rather, because of one individual's real (not symbolic) gesture.

What might be learned from students that the SPJ supports is that there are higher values, and that they have benefited directly from those values.

But I'm in the position of taking only the IndyStar's free stuff. They could entice me with astute business models and with goodwill, but they've spent the goodwill long ago and the quality of the product is suspect for the largest part and has little value to me-- even with my ties to Indianapolis.

There are many readers of this blog that have their lives intertwined by what goes on at what was once called The Star and News. They have (largely) earnestly contributed to a public service as town criers of one cut of cloth or another. We need the news, and statistics and humor. But the sales department runs that organization, and in the usual game of corporate acquisitions and amalgamations, they're also beholden to Wall Street and shareholders. Every quarter, they must respond positively or see their share price go down. It's a direct function of capitalism in the Wall Street era that long term strategies aren't rewarded.

So it's no wonder that Gannett is going to systematically cut their costs, and one of those costs is labor. Labor will be cut until the quality is barely acceptable, because there is no competition to drive quality. There will be those that contribute to a quality product because that's the kind of person they are. They don't make or write or research junk, tripe, or allow themselves to sink to the lowest common denominator that keeps them in an income.

I watched heros of mine, like Tom Keating (and you, George Stuteville) leave Gannett for better vistas when clearly, the job done was consistent and good-- in some cases excellent. Ruth put her heart and soul into it. But it's a corporation, and it does not serve you unless you're a stockholder. To think otherwise is folly.

Yes, there are people that constitute what a corporation does. I own my own corporation, it has one stockholder and one employee, me. Gannett via The Star, however, is bereft of the character that comprises fraternity. It is a money making device, and not very good at that. To personify or anthropomorphize Gannett or The Star is equal folly; it is a functionary body and not its constituent components. In other words: you guys remind me of masochists. Gannett is a noose around your necks. Yet you keep coughing and choking.

So it goes.

2009-09-15 13:40:57

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

Just exactly what did the Guild accomplish at the Star that would not happened anyway? 10% instead of 12% is no victory. The Guild has always been weak and under represented at the Star. Journalism and unions don't make good bed partners, never have, maybe because journalists by and large try to see all sides of an issue, even at the risk of self interest.

Nothing against Chris, but YouTube is another lesion on the blight called "social networking." Andy predicted with more foresight than he could have imagined when he said "In the future, evereybody will be famous for 15 minutes." The time, electricity, bandwidth and brain cells wasted on facebookyoutubetwittertwerping, are incalculable..

One reason newspapers are failing is because nobody reads. (Or spells. Or punctuates.) Illiteracy is running rampant, fueled by the notion that everybody at all times has something to say worth sharing or viewing. Rantrantrant....

2009-09-15 15:11:51

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Well, Tom, I'm with ya when you're right.

Strunk and White wept.

2009-09-15 15:26:49

DAS [unverified] said:

Seriously, Faith Ford???

Jiminey Cripes!

Let's analyze this to death...

2009-09-15 16:35:47

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