Dateline: Tue 30 Aug 2011

Save Our Star -- or Save The Star -- is the latest campaign being waged by the Indianapolis News Guild Local 34070.

The argument, promoted on a web site, is that the Star is hurting badly (outsourcing, bleeding talent, blurring the ad/newsroom lines) due to corporate greed, but that the paper (and therefore the jobs of the campaign's creators and others) can still be saved if we, the readers and subscribers, contact the publisher and executive editor and express our displeasure with Gannett layoffs, cuts and short-sighted management that has caused newsroom staff to shrink by one-third in the past couple years.

So, it's on us. No strikes, no walkouts, no "eat the rich" gonzo tactics, just ask the readers to please save jobs and Journalism as we know it.

Here's the link. Please read it:


The effort was launched last week and is being promoted on the newspaper Guild's Facebook page, so if you're a FB fan, simply do a search on "newspaper" and you're there. According to Guild president Bobby King, as quoted in the comments section on Gannett Blog Aug. 28, "great big billboards" will be the next step in this advertising campaign ..."and that's just the start." The message is also being put forth on WFYI/National Public Radio in Indy this week, during drive time.

Sigh. Yawn.

I remain a subscriber and loyal reader of the newspaper. Despite that, I'm not going to make any impassioned calls, because I'm a born-again realist when it comes to daily journalism/newspapers. I started to remove those rose-colored glasses sometime around 2004, when I still worked at the Star. I see much better now, thank you.

Also, here's a novel economic thought: if the Star is not successful, if readers and, yes, even advertisers stop reading and subscribing and spending bucks, the Star will simply die off.

And then maybe something better will take it's place.

The problem with the Guild's campaign -- which of course has the high-minded moral ground -- is the tunnel vision that has characterized journalism ever since I walked into a newsroom in 1969. We were the Fourth Estate, kin to Congress, the presidency and the Supreme Court. We did not work for editors, and certainly not for business, God forbid -- we worked for Journalism. That made us somehow untouchable, or, more accurately, out of touch.

There's a good reason for the term coined to describe journos in the 1980s: shy egomaniacs. Too shy to speak up,  standing on the sidelines by vocation and avocation, but with ferocious blustery little egos about what we did and those precious bylines.

None of that matters. As readers of this blog have pointed out so many, many times, THE NEWSPAPER INDUSTRY IS A BUSINESS, AND THE BUSINESS MODEL IS BROKEN. And in the end, who really cares anymore? Information is still flowing, ideas are still being presented. I prefer to go to the church of the newspaper on a daily basis, but I am definitely a minority, a dying breed.

Gannett does not give a rat's ass what some squawky employees or readers in Indianapolis think, as long as Gannett is making money -- and they are making money, gobs of it. Save The Star points out all that.

It is perhaps hubris that allows Guild leadership to think that readers/subscribers would rush to their phones, laptops and computers to contact the publisher and the exec editor to protest. OK, maybe there is one Methodist book group made up of middle-aged white lady intellectuals who will take up the cause, but I doubt even that. We're all too busy earning a living, gasping to take in the oxygen-deprived air of this "new economy," and just plain living, to take up the cause. And frankly, there are much bigger problems facing this city and Central Indiana than what the Star is doing, or not doing.

This is an old-fashioned crusade that King sadly calls "edgy but accurate."

In fact, it is neither. Columnist Dan Carpenter marching around the Star, leading the 120 Guild members in a noisy protest, along with a dozen or so sympathetic citizens  -- that might come closer to garnering some attention. But doubtful. And certainly, it wouldn't save anything.

Better to follow the lead of 25-year veteran media critic Jack Shafer, who last week was laid off by Slate.com. He remains bullish on the subject he covers, the media, but he offers this advice to journos on Monday's Poynter Institute web page:

“No matter how good your job is — and mine was great — you should always be looking for your next gig.”

That's what those at the Star who are clinging to the false hope that Gannett will see the light and save journalism must do. Move on.

Thanks to Jim Hopkins at Gannett Blog, who wrote about this first, this past Saturday:






Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Very insightful, Ruth. In college journalism classes back "in the day", we were taught that newspaper journalism was akin to a religion - a higher calling, almost a transcendent way to traverse the planet with an inflated sense of higher purpose. Like you quoted, Ruth, "shy egomaniacs."

It didn't take some of us very long to find out that it's hard to be a First Amendment saint when the budget calculators in their plush offices put the screws on. Money makes the world go 'round, after all.

At the journalism awards banquets, one would most often be required to sit through a "sermon" about some high and lofty aspect of the religion of journalism in order to get a plaque, a head of Mark Twain on a wood pedestal (that was AP), or an unframed piece of paper (that was UPI and the Society of Professional Journalists).

Listening to those high and mighty speeches made me feel that I was required to do penance ("hail Woodward and Bernstein, full of grace") in order to get the plaque. It was all just so much BS to me. Was then and still is.

I do feel sorry for journalists now who are trying to pay the bills and put food on the table for their families. Bless 'em. But like Ruth wrote, I don't think many people will be paying much attention to their protests.

Not when 20 percent of Indiana children are going to bed hungry and dignified senior citizens are lining up at the doors of Salvation Army food pantries every day for a couple of sacks of beanie-weinies, Spam, and the poor man's/woman's version of box cheese.

We have so many injustices to protest in this state. The Star is not high on my personal list of priorities.

2011-08-30 13:12:46

ruthholl [Member] said:

Old school, in agreement, thank you. Love the Hail W and B, full of grace. You're right, it was holier than thou. Still is, apparently.
I hate to sound snotty, because I too have empathy for journalists working to support themselves and their families. I have a lot of respect for how hard they all work, and the caliber of reporting at the Star is often extraordinary, as in the State Fair coverage. I hate to say it, but Gannett knows it can squeeze that juice out, and so it will continue to do so.
It's almost as if any future journos should be forced to get degrees in economics or finance rather than writing and editing and humanities and English. We still need reporters; we will always need a press. But we are in the process of re-invention right now, and nobody can quite see what it's gonna look like....but certainly not like it did even 5 years ago.
Life goes on.
Thanks for comments.

2011-08-30 13:32:07

Bobby King [unverified] said:

I am disappointed that you don't see the merit in what we're trying to do and that you've allowed cynicism to overcome your ideals. I suppose that, as you see it, we should just fold up the tent and go home. You imagine that, should it die, something better might take The Star's place. What might that be? Your blog?

You praise our state fair coverage. And rightfully so. Yet do you think that would have happened by bloggers alone? Do you think your cohorts in the blogosphere could have mounted such a forceful reporting campaign? I doubt it. I doubt anyone would have noticed. The fact is The Star is a vital institution. Weakened, yes. But still important. And our Guild's campaign is trying to preserve what's left and improving the work that we still do.

You might be surprised to hear that, inside The Star's building, our Guild's efforts are being met with support and pledges to get involved among our members and even non dues payers. We're just getting some momentum. So don't write off the possibility of gonzo tactics. (By the way, I like the idea of Dan Carpenter leading a parade around the building. I may file that one away.) You mock our attempt to get the public's support.
And time will tell if we are successful. But I have a feeling that the public cares more than you give them credit.

The point is that you, of all people -- supposedly a devout defender of journalism -- should be behind what we're doing. And you, someone who in their day embraced activism as a tool for positive change, seems content to roll over and let The Man have his way with us.

Where did the real Ruth Holladay go? The one who writes this blog doesn't resemble the one who used to make waves in this town.

2011-08-30 13:55:03

John Russell [unverified] said:

Ruth: Just a few days ago, you praised the work of Star journalists for our "riveting, important and deep stories" on the state fair disaster.

A few months ago, you praised our "real teeth-in-the-throat" coverage of the Duke-IURC scandal.

I was proud to be involved in both stories. I think I have earned the right to say the Star needs to do much more of this type of journalism. So do many of my editors. But it gets tougher and tougher to do that with every round of layoff, furlough and pay cut.

Our paper is shrinking, while Gannett execs pay packages are swelling.

Our newsroom, too, is shrinking. Our ability to keep the city informed with "riveting, deep and important stories" is being threatened.

Who will take our place when the Star "simply dies off," as you put it? Will bloggers drop everything on weekends to cover disasters, ask important questions, and dig through thousands of documents? Will PR people keep the city informed about ethical conflicts and mismanagement of billion-dollar projects?

If you can't be bothered to even pick up the phone and ask the Star to reinvest in Indianapolis, and to help us do everything we can to keep the Star vibrant, you have no right to praise or criticize our coverage.

John Russell
Business Reporter
Treasurer, Indianapolis Newspaper Guild
SPJ Indiana Journalist of the Year 2010

2011-08-30 13:58:13

Ms. Cynical [unverified] said:

Save Our Star?

"Our" Star disappeared years ago: as soon as Gannett took over.

Too late.

2011-08-30 14:00:40

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Geez, guys. I thought protest and activism are supposed to be VOLUNTARY.

Ruth is not "The Man" and your cajoling of her seems heavy handed. Like most of us old-timers, she's got her own crosses to haul, dudes.

I wish you all of the best, but you'd do better to use your energy to rally the troops you have.

Give Dan a six-string and have him lead the newsroom in a few verses of "We Shall Overcome." That'll get their attention.

2011-08-30 14:49:38

indykjsharp [unverified] said:

Nobody wants to see The Star go down... not even those of us who saw the writing on the wall years ago. But as everyone knows, the Gannett model doesn't exactly inspire greatness. I hope they save it, but if they don't, may a phoenix rise from the ashes under new and more moral ownership.

2011-08-30 14:55:36

Ex-Star employee [unverified] said:

Dear Bobby, John and anyone else who is left kissing ... you know what at the Star:

Admit it, your concern is keeping YOUR job, not defending journalism nor the Star's supposed ability to conduct such business. Those of us who were victims of earlier layoffs, many who were at The Star long before either of you, have a very hard time feeling sorry for you or the state of journalism at The Star. We were there, saw what was going on and what was coming down the pike. We have recreated ourselves, realigned our budgets, and adjusted to unanticipated career changes while the Guild sold us out to get a contract with no teeth, watches its membership dwindle due to more and more cuts, and is left with members who are afraid that they too will have to adjust to a life without their chosen career.

The difference between you and us is you now see the inevitable future of joblessness and struggling to make yourself stand out from scores of former journalists who are out there looking for work. We never saw it coming.

2011-08-30 15:50:47

VladtheImpaler [unverified] said:

During my inglorious 16 years at "Star-News" and in the years since quitting I cannot remember one act of protest/insubordination/insolence by the Guild or its members (apologies to old timers who have engaged in mischief in past). No marching around the building with a megaphone. No placards.

In Pittsburgh, during guild contract talks, delivery trucks would mysteriously catch fire. Not advocating that here, but how about at least getting reporters (wear ski masks if you have to) and members of the community out in front of the building and in the park across the street. Wait until the Gannett gestapo are in town to count the profits. Blare megaphones, bring out the community in droves.

It won't cause Gannett to hang a white flag out the window but it sends a message that the community is pissed--not just the oppressed reporters. The publisher will pee her pants and building security will be hiding under their desks.

You'll feel better about your miserable selves, too. Coming here from the East, the milquetoast, mild-mannered approach of labor really is bewildering. At least go out fighting the bastards. Defy authority as your defy the oppressors and crooks you so passionately write about in your reporting.

2011-08-30 16:59:42

Dan McFeely [unverified] said:

So much for unity in the labor movement.

Do me a favor ... don't pretend you know why I do what I do. Life is tough ... here and there, everywhere.

But the bitterness here is really not needed.

Sold you out? Seriously?

2011-08-30 17:32:21

ruthholl [Member] said:

John and Bobby, have you guys not read "The Chain Gang?" or "S.O.B." by the man who made Gannett into what it is today? "What Happens When Gannett Comes to Town?" in the Columbia Journalism Review, which details how Gannett ruined great newspapers in Des Moines and Louisville?
Cynical? Hell, yes, I'm cynical. You guys work for the worst of the worst. Your handlers, who are my former bosses, will lie to you, manipulate you, flatter you, hang your awards on the wall, take you out for breakfast or lunch, cajole you and then absolutely stab you in the back or wherever they can get the knife in when it suits their budget and vision. There is no campaign on earth that can reform them, aside from the loss of dollars.
And, lo and behold, they are making money, because they're a big greedy corporation with multi-faceted interests; last I heard, Career Builder was the biggest stud in the stable. Newspapers? Pfft.
This sentiment takes away nothing from your personal talent, dedication and expertise, nor from the worthiness of anyone who has left or been canned. Talent is not the issue, because Gannett does not care....as one of the better, smarter reporters told me when I still worked there, in 2004-05 or so, "As long as I realize I'm just a cog in the machine, easily replaced, I can stand to come to work every day." Self-realization...
And here's the other cynical truth that hurts like hell: young people and many middle-aged people are not buying or reading the Star. No matter how good your coverage, or how passionately you feel, they don't give a care. So, sad to say for both of us, my praise is the sound of one hand clapping, with maybe a faint echo from those few of us still obsessed with journalism and the demise of an institution, the daily newspaper. In other words, those of us from another era....
The younger guys ARE reading, however -- and no, not my blog, but reddit or Google news or CNN or Instapundit or the Sunday NYT or the Onion or watching Al Jazeera or Youtube...while we were chasing deadlines and killing trees, they were going online and finding alternative news/information sources. I can't even have a conversation with my adult kids or 30-something neighbors about a story in the paper, because very few people in that demographic have read it.
I can't believe you don't realize this, except to say that I did not realize it when I was there...not until towards "the end." It's humbling, but humility is after all a virtue, not a vice, like pride.
You guys are young, and smart, and true, so go for it, give it your best shot, good luck, hang tough, keep doing what you are doing, and if you see some inroads, more power to you. But please don't expect a miracle, cuz it's not going to happen. Like so many who have left, I can only say -- take care of your families, take care of yourselves, but don't expect Gannett to take care of you.

2011-08-30 17:45:15

Ms. Cynical [unverified] said:

Once upon a time, not long after the Nashville Tennessean was sold to Gannett I happened to be sitting at a dinner table in Nashville with a couple of their advertising department honchos.

Who bragged about their six-figure salaries and perks (such as flying not only the ad exec but her dog to Nashville for an interview), including paying all expenses for moves.

When have you ever heard of a reporter with a six-figure income? Certainly not at The Star (unless your name was Pulliam).

2011-08-30 17:58:31

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Bobby King: to answer your question, Ruth Hollday is probably tired. We're all tired.

Hope is a full-time job. It's also exhausting.

Mr. Russell: I read your stuff. It's good. It's infrequent. As noted in an earlier post, the Sunday Biz Section is a mortifying joke. Seriously. I have no idea how many stories you write that get shit-canned. But the Biz section has become a bulletin board for new hire announcements and an occasional good story.

(And again I ask: do you folks write stuff that doesn't get published? I don't udnerstand how anyone can expect to keep a job writing one or two or three stories a week. I'd love to be wrong on this, by the way.)

I sense that Ruth's generation of newsies loved the Pullium mantra--they bought it hook, line and sinker. They didn't realize that the common national journalists' joke was: "Indianapolis is the only major metropolitan city in the land without a daily newspaper." The vast majority of the paper was routinely a hateful Pullium-inspired diatribe against anything even remotely progressive. The Editorial Page was to the right of Cacky Loeb.

Yet some damned good journalists thought their hard work would balance that out.

Out in the sticks, Ruthie, hard-right Republicans loved the paper. Everyone else tolerared it or made fun of it. I tried to sort out the good stuff--yours among it, of course, and Dan and Keating and all the others.

But I could ALWAYS travel a few counties south and pick up a copy of the Louisville CJ Indiana Edition, and it was a far superior paper. Layout, content, graphics...solid.

Or travel almost anywhere in the country and find a better metro paper.

In truth, the Pulliums fostered an environment that favored their opinions and made them billions. They got out at the right time, and for that, they're economically brilliant.

But as you're finding out now, a good P&L doesn't make a good paper. It's the underlying spirit. And overall content.

There never were enough Keatings. Ever.

Thus endeth this Epistle. Sadly. The paper thing won't end well, either. A pox on Gannett's house, but this was a predictable outcome years ago.

2011-08-30 18:52:55

indykjsharp [unverified] said:

What all this back and forth proves to me is that there are plenty of people in this community who give a damn about our paper of record. Every day I read the "paper" newspaper and electronically clip the highlights for a political candidate. First thing every morning I listen to WFYI report the news of the day, mostly taken from The Star. I feel those who are there are doing the best they can under challenging circumstances, and some of it is great, and most of it sorely needs editors. The generation that has given up on newspapers because they think they're getting it from Google will have a rude awakening someday when there's nothing left to aggregate. Ditto all those who steal it online. Just because someone gives you something doesn't mean you shouldn't value it enough to pay for it.

2011-08-30 19:05:53

John Russell [unverified] said:

Yes, I see. It is quite clear. Let's all do absolutely nothing, and watch Gannett drive the Star off a cliff, then yawn and go back to watching Mad Men or Jersy Shore. Is that the plan?

Just because things are a certain way today doesn't mean they have to stay that way. Change is difficult. It is risky. It takes work. It takes leadership. I salute Bobby King for stepping into a big job as Guild leadership with vision and determination.

It's a huge challenge, but what is the alternative? Whining about unions, like many of these anonymous posters, or griping that Gannett is the evil empire and our fate is sealed, like some burned-out quitters? That's not the attitude I bring to my reporting, and it's not the attitude I bring to this critical step in the history of the Star.

John Russell

2011-08-30 20:55:38

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Admittedly, I'm not very smart, but I don't get all of this. What's the point, really?

Gannett is a big corporation. It has no heart, no soul.

Reporters are ants to them. Ants to stomp on.

I'm not an entimologist. But I figure ants let out a squeal when they are stomped on. We don't hear the squeal. Like Ruth wrote, the sound of one hand clapping. Or, as John Lennon sang, "there ain't no guru coming down from the sky, now that I know this, I know I can cry."

Gannett doesn't hear the squeal.

Go find another job. Your kids need to eat.

2011-08-30 22:39:16

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Good for you John.

Seriously. You need that spunk.

Now, please, answer my question, because I really don't know: how many articles a week do you write? Would you say that your outpiut is avwrage for Star reporters?How much time does it take to write them? How many get published?

Because we readers see less local content every day. The police-scanner writer is a joke. I'd welcome more locally-written content. I search for it daily.

If you're writing it and it's not published, we need to pressure editors. Or they're going to cut MORE writing positions.

If you're not writing it--why?

I realize not all stories are write-and-run. Some take research, time, solid detective work.

They're publishing a wire-to-local mix that sometimes reaches as low as 25% local (including the art). As a loyal reader, and former journalist myself, I'm trying to figure out why that is. I can't ever seme to get a logical answer.

So, in the void, I assume laziness. Don't get your panties in a wad: I'd love to be wrong.

But if you think the paper is going to be saved with 3-4 stories a week per writer, you'd better fire-up the resume. If that's the accepted level of column-inch production, your numbers will surely shrink.

Which I don't want.

Face it: wire copy is cheaper. The cost is spread over hundreds of papers.

I just need to know whose ass to kick. Reporters, for being lazy (as a GROUP, not individuals)? Or editors, for favoring cheaper wire content?

2011-08-31 06:19:51

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Good for you John.

Seriously. You need that spunk.

Now, please, answer my question, because I really don't know: how many articles a week do you write? Would you say that your outpiut is avwrage for Star reporters?How much time does it take to write them? How many get published?

Because we readers see less local content every day. The police-scanner writer is a joke. I'd welcome more locally-written content. I search for it daily.

If you're writing it and it's not published, we need to pressure editors. Or they're going to cut MORE writing positions.

If you're not writing it--why?

I realize not all stories are write-and-run. Some take research, time, solid detective work.

They're publishing a wire-to-local mix that sometimes reaches as low as 25% local (including the art). As a loyal reader, and former journalist myself, I'm trying to figure out why that is. I can't ever seme to get a logical answer.

So, in the void, I assume laziness. Don't get your panties in a wad: I'd love to be wrong.

But if you think the paper is going to be saved with 3-4 stories a week per writer, you'd better fire-up the resume. If that's the accepted level of column-inch production, your numbers will surely shrink.

Which I don't want.

Face it: wire copy is cheaper. The cost is spread over hundreds of papers.

I just need to know whose ass to kick. Reporters, for being lazy (as a GROUP, not individuals)? Or editors, for favoring cheaper wire content?

2011-08-31 06:19:51

VladtheImpaler [unverified] said:

Sadly, I'm afraid your fate is sealed under Gannett ownership. Vlad advocates rebellion only for personal gratification rather than with the expectation it will cause the Corporation to change its ways.

As many have said, Gannett doesn't care about quality journalism as much as Profit--praise her holy name.

A few token investigative pieces every quarter give the impression the paper as a whole has credibility. Whitewash on a tomb.

But quality journalists are often experienced--and of a higher cost to Shareholders. Ultimately they must be jettisoned and refreshed with lower-cost talent at the Gannett publication. That talent will in time grow costly and the cycle continues.

2011-08-31 06:59:20

hendy [Member] said:

I find myself in odd agreement with Vlad.

What's sad is: the Guild's actions, as stress-relieving as they might be, are nihilistic. Star employees are caught in a no-win situation. Gannett has no conscience, no soul, and your sales department rules-- when they can sell.

Your editor is a twit. Your content doesn't reflect the fulfillment of your community's needs. Other media is usurping your role, and not necessarily with relish. Want business reviews? Check Angie's List or Yelp or TripAdvisor. Need business news? IBJ Online. Classifieds? Craigslist. Coupons? Lots of places. Comics? Puhleeze. Now that the obits can be found elsewhere, that's not even an option. Investigative journalism? There is some?

The community organ that was TheStar needs a transplant. The insiders are trapped, and feeling put-upon. This is now a banal game about profits, and how to milk them. Initiatives at new media have failed. The online CMS is a travesty, a vestige of the early 2Ks.

Other media is passing up TheStar's community roles, and doing it quickly, and they're not even very good-- it's that EASY to do. And it's sad, sad for Star employees, sad for ex-employees, but saddest of all: for the great community that Indianapolis has been at times. Right now, it's locked in a malaise at so many levels, led by Mayor Quixote and his CIB Cabal, allied by Gov Bonehead. You guys at the Star had a chance to do something honorable and you blew it, hobbled by an editor who's a lapdog of Gannett, and the Guild's ineffectiveness. Worse: the disingenuous approach to adapting to new media will kill your newspaper. Freshen up that resume. You'll need it, sadly. Probably soon. This isn't an economy that favors the weak.

2011-08-31 10:00:46

Sylvia Halladay [unverified] said:

Hey Indy News Guild, I think the Save the Star campaign is great and you should keep on doing it. I meant what I said when I got the ax that day, and said you all were some seriously smart people who needed to keep on keeping on, and I'm so darned proud to see that it looks like that's been happening!

2011-08-31 13:17:50

George Stuteville [unverified] said:


You've written some great columns in your time, but I think your response to John and Bobby was a prize-winner! Does HSPA have a category in their contest for Best Blog Commentary?

As someone earlier said, the newspaper business model is no longer relevant because it is not economically sustaining.

You could have been a great blacksmith and farrier in 1920, but your days were numbered whenever a car rattled past your shop.

That said, I do think a remnant of The Star can be saved -- but not in its current form. I think it could become a kick-ass weekly in a printed format. For the daily demand, it needs to turn into a digital product tailored for tablets and phones. Every electron of content should be commoditized with the exception of free material that would send traffic into the url. That material could be long-form, crowd-sourced obituaries/tributes, high school sports/ weather/ and classifieds. I think Star classifieds could compete with Craigslist if they would adopt a video display option and open up a local e-auction format. For gathering information, there is nothing wrong with crowd-sourcing and social media. Here, The Star's primary value cannot be as a delivery vehicle, that's the domain of Face Book and Twitter, but The Star can exist as a brand and utilize existing technologies. The talent at The Star, freed from some of the grunt work of news-gathering, could thus be utilized as context editors and commentators on regular beats. I do believe coment would drive traffic. Also, the GroupOn model, I should think, would work in local advertising applications.

The thing is that editors and reporters can't return to the old model. It's a zombie.

What will save them is forward thinking, creativity and courage -- the very values that tend to wilt for those organizations under Gannett's grubby thumb.

2011-08-31 16:43:04

VladtheImpaler [unverified] said:

TTT said to John R:
Now, please, answer my question, because I really don't know: how many articles a week do you write? Would you say that your outpiut is avwrage for Star reporters?How much time does it take to write them? How many get published?
* * *
According to Johnondeadline.com, his total story count for the first six months of this year is 49. That averages 1.8 stories a week.

Other Star reporters wisely looking for employment elsewhere might want to check out this masterful site for tips on how to self-promote yourselves.

2011-08-31 17:04:07

escapedbeforebeinggannetized [unverified] said:

There is nothing good about Gannett. It is simply a big corporation that spits out a daily newspaper. To me, by the time I left, voluntarily,
I felt like I worked in a factory that just happend to publish a newspaper. Less and less local focus,
churn and burn on the turnover, very little community involvement, too many wire stories, larger pics to take up more space, and a laughing stock of an image to local broadcast media. The "template" mentality that Gannett drug in behind them left little room for anything remarkable to happen.
It's either their way or their way.
Take your pick. In the end, they have been their own worst enemy.

2011-08-31 20:44:37

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Vlad, if 1.8 is the count, unless it includes a lot of investigative stories that require much time, the resumes ought to be printed and ready.

My God when I was actively reporting, admittedly a long time ago, and I'd chat with area reporters about story count, it was 2-4 per day. And usually a loner, research-absed story or two per week.

That doesn't make my generation Supermen and women.

If these Star reporters were writing more, and getting cut OR heavily edited, I'd gladly eat my words.

But I don't get the 1.8 thing. It's just too dangerous in this dog-eat-reporter environment. I must admit it's what I expected. I just hoped--against hope---that it was more.


If you're writing 1.8 biz stories per week, no wonder your lunch is getting eaten by the IBJ and virtually every other media outlet in town.

2011-08-31 21:04:42

VladtheImpaler [unverified] said:

Much of it was excellent investigative reporting.

2011-09-01 05:36:36

Christopher Lloyd [unverified] said:

They are fighting the good fight. It is noble and true and brave, and it probably will not change anything, but it's still worth the effort. Because the only time you truly lose is when you are too afraid to fight.

I will say I wish I'd seen more of that fighting spirit before, when some of us desperately needed it. But that's water long under the bridge now.

To the dyspeptic fellows obsessed with story count: Measuring the worth of a reporter by how many bylines they have is like rating the effectiveness of a quarterback by how many passes he throws rather than touchdowns and wins. The former measures mere activity; the other gauges real impact.

Yes, you can write four or five stories a day; I've done it. I will tell you I can't recall a single one of those articles. But we'll all remember the stories mentioned above.

2011-09-02 18:43:42

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