Bobby King's eloquent response

Dateline: Wed 22 Jun 2011

in the Guild online newsletter, the Inkling:

http://einkling.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/indy-news-guilds-response-to-latest-round-of-layoffs-at-indianapolis-star/

Here are excerpts of what the Indy Guild president Bobby King said:

"The Indianapolis Star Tuesday executed one of the most dramatic force reductions in its history, eliminating 81 positions — 62 by layoffs — and dramatically downsizing its news gathering operations.

"The Indianapolis Newspaper Guild lost 26 of its own copy editors, reporters, librarians, photographers and others. It was nearly equal to force reductions conducted two years ago, when 28 people were laid off in multiple reductions in 2008-09 in the darkest depths of the market meltdown.

"Those are the raw numbers — the hard news lead to the story. But the more in-depth analysis shows that Gannett Co. Inc., the Star’s parent company, didn’t like the looks of its bottom line. The Star is still turning a profit. Its editor and publisher have said that repeatedly in recent weeks. But the Star’s revenues have been on the decline. Translation: The Star is making money, just not as much as it once did.

"So, the answer that Star publisher Karen Crotchfelt came up with was to gut suburban coverage, eliminate an entire layer of copy editors (that last line of defense which separates us from the animals in the blogosphere) and make a nip here and a tuck there to reduce expenses. Crotchfelt didn’t sugar coat things. Asked a question about the prudence of such cuts at a time when her corporate bosses are getting six-figure bonuses, she answered straightly: That’s how the corporate world works...

"Star editor Dennis Ryerson, meanwhile, tried to put the happiest face on the reductions at a staff meeting Tuesday afternoon following the carnage. He barely paused to acknowledge the blood-letting, or to show empathy for everyone’s pain. Instead, he charged into a discussion of an exciting new flow chart that will guide the Star into its next chapter. He talked about how the Star would focus less on incremental stories and more on big picture, magazine style packages. He said readers would still find “magic” in their daily paper. And he said the elimination of one complete layer of the copy desk wouldn’t affect the quality of the news product, something that seems truly an incredible statement to this reporter, who’s had his bacon saved more than once by a rim editor who’s caught a misspelled name or an errant fact before it could find the light of print.

"The essential message from Ryerson could be a slogan in Gannett’s next marketing campaign: “Less really is more.”

 

Comments

Boomer Indy [unverified] said:

Well said, Mr. King. How can anyone with a straight face (Ryerson) say that less really is better. You can only chop at a tree trunk so long before the whole tree eventually crashes down. How can he truly say that fewer copy editors is better? Will they rely on spell check? I especially enjoyed King's comment, "So, the answer that Star publisher Karen Crotchfelt came up with was to gut suburban coverage, eliminate an entire layer of copy editors (that last line of defense which separates us from the animals in the blogosphere)..." He speaks truth. Best wishes to those axed. It's a mean job market out there. Market your skills and don't be afraid to try something new. Prayers for all!

2011-06-22 10:09:42

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2011-06-22 20:25:53

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