Out the door

Dateline: Mon 09 Apr 2012

Dennis Ryerson is retiring as executive editor of the Indianapolis Star. Seriously, I wonder if the guy will be missed. Like any Gannett manager, he could stick the knife in, but his personality is so eager to please and he's so people-oriented in a nervous Norwegian sort of way (at least on the big stage) that he no doubt has some friends in the newsroom.

Tough luck for those left behind, since all Gannett's top editors do the bidding of their masters, which is not good for newspapers in general.

Friend Tom Henderson sends this link from Reason:


and shares these observations:

1. Publishers today have a 1 percent mentality and side with the "haves."

2. Convenience rules, hassles drool.

Also, Indianapolis Monthly exec editor emeritus Debbie Paul is retiring for good next April, but meantime is cutting back her hours. She wrote about her bout with breast cancer in the most recent issue, the one with beer on the cover.

Both publications are badly in need of new blood -- and I say that with respect for Paul, who is a fine writer and editor. But times change, and it's a kid's game. The magazine needs a refresher course in writing deep. The newspaper needs a total brain transplant.

So bring it on.


Lem [unverified] said:

Politicians need newspapers. Editors and reporters are their well-controlled lap dogs. Bloggers are independent and unpredictable, which is anathema to government hacks.

2012-04-09 21:10:13

Wot the Wot? [unverified] said:

I see that Ryerson is going to collect a paycheck as a columnist. Here are some column ideas for him: I am awesome at mowing the lawn. The scrambled eggs I made this morning are the tastiest ever. I revolutionized putting pants on one leg at a time. This is how everybody needs turn the key in their car's ignition.

2012-04-09 21:29:24

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

"Bloggers are independent and unpredictable, which is anathema to government hacks." They also are unreliable and adverse to the unprofitable digging that newspapers subsidize. But I love the silly old canard about editors and reporters being "lapdogs" (can we go for "running lapdogs of imperialism," the communist pejorative of yore?)of polticians. I am guessing you are under 30, Lem, and have never acquired the indispensible habit of reading a daily newspaper. I admit the current iteration of the Star will not encourage the development of such habit, but I recommend reading at least one to start your day.

2012-04-10 09:01:00

hendy [Member] said:

Tom, bloggers are all over the map; The Star have been (largely) tools of their advertiser's politic, and not their readers. You see, there was a point where the customer became the advertiser, and not the reader. It's vacillated back and forth, usually favoring white-boy conservatism.

Lapdog sycophants? Pretty close, IMHO.

2012-04-10 09:51:37

farmgirl [unverified] said:

It is true that the old Star could be pretty hard-hitting a times...as long as it didn't hit anyone important. In my very first days in the Star cityroom, there was great consternation because an important man had been indicted for tax evasion, and he was one of the largest contributors to the Star's Christmas fund. After much hand-wringing, they put the story on page 3.

2012-04-10 11:46:06

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

First off: Ruth. Thank you for posting this article despite your current health issues. Bless your heart. You are in my prayers.

Second: I couldn't agree more, Hendy. I.e., "The Star have been (largely) tools of their advertiser's politic, and not their readers."

I got a good chuckle at the post about predicted future Ryerson columns. I remember years ago reading a column by an old former newspaper editor who devoted a treatise to how he meticulously organized his sock drawer. No kidding.

It's funny, I keep trying to un-subscribe to The Star paper, but they won't let me. First, my wife said she wanted to get only the Sunday edition for the ads. Then, a guy from the Star convinced me I should get the Sunday
Star AND the Thursday edition for less than I was paying for just the Sunday edition. Now, they are telling me I can get the Thursday-Sunday editions for the same price I am paying now for when I switched over to just Sunday (and then they later tossed in the Thursday edition).

If this trend continues, they may be delivering me a week's worth of papers for free. I might recommend to them the same market placement as the Thrifty Nickle.

2012-04-10 13:43:28

whosear [unverified] said:

A measure of a city is its newspapers despite the canard that they're on there way out. Just following two stories of national interest, Jerry Sandusky and Trayvon Martin, drove home that two local papers (Harrisburg Patriot-Gazette & the Orlando Sentinel) provided the most reliable information. Trust in NBC, ABC & CNN? Each of them rushed stories with incomplete analysis of its contents, causing apologies.

I don't see any other media source that is reliable and can be trusted.

2012-04-10 14:17:39

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

I'm not generally mean-spirited, but Dennis was worthless. I'm not sure if he could've been productive, given his mission and his masters.

A columnist? Pshaw. His weekly blathering was just silly. He can't write. Not that the lack of writing talent seems to hinder anyone else at The Star.

As for InMonthly, it's got usually one good article per edition. Deb's column's reading from back to front in Hebrew fashion, are spiffy and reasoned. I wish her good health. The rest of the mag is a Carmel Hosuewives remodel and bridal portfolio. Gleck.

And what's this about your health? I was was beginning to wonder....Godspeed.

2012-04-10 15:59:54

hendy [Member] said:

Ok. Let's speculate. Miracles are tough. Let's say you had the current budget, probably no more, and had to turn both the print edition and the website around. What would you do, and why? Extra points for brevity.

2012-04-10 17:50:21

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

That will take some thought.

First: don't hire Dennis.

Second: don't hire any Pulliams.

Third, bring back Ruthie.

I'll get back to you on the rest.

2012-04-10 19:56:22

Terry [unverified] said:

Not that long ago, but so long ago. From a poster to Jim Hopkins' gannettblog:


2012-04-11 00:41:54

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

Bloggers are everywhere, indeed. And a good case against them is what happened to S Carolina Gov Nikki Haley, when a malicious twit wrote that she is being investigated for tax fraud. The lie took wing. Any reputable news organization will require two verifiable sources. Twits do not.

Any knucklehead in mom's basement can write a falsehood and thanks to technology, have as much credibility for the moment as the NYTimes. The old question of "Have you stopped beating your wife" thus becomes a threat to everyone and it is impossible to reverse the damage once the question is asked.

We all agree the Star is a sorry shadow of what it once was, whatever those shortcomings were. But blogs, no matter how much you fans of the internet insist otherwise, do not fill the vacuum created by the demise of newspapers.

2012-04-11 06:25:46

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Good point, Tom

But in the case of Gov. Haley, given her record and her views, it was twit tweeting about a twit.

Twit for twit.

2012-04-11 06:29:10

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

T3, you're flogging the victim. Her twitness notwithstanding, she was done wrong. And easily so, first by a keystroke and then by lazy passers-along-of-unverified-rumors.

2012-04-11 07:20:04

Jason [unverified] said:

Part of the problem is that newspapers' credibility have suffered in an attempt at beating the blogosphere at it's own game.

They have generally become one of two things, either blatantly partisan without accepting their own bias or just plain yellow.

Blogs, the good ones anyway, openly acknowledge the bias of their posts and are completely devoid of a filter. The real meat comes from the smaller community that posts regularly. The Star is NONE of the above. The comments are so mob-mentality, far flung and absurd I can feel my brain cells dying off as I scroll through them.

Newspapers will never succeed if they try to create these small online 'communities' that blogs are. I feel their strength is in developing long-term stories and having the resources to fact check. People don't really want that stuff anymore though..

2012-04-11 08:24:03

hendy [Member] said:

There are lots of barnacles on The Star's boat. Some have chewed through the bulkhead. Their CMS system is the worst I've seen; even my own tawdry WordPress-themed site is better than the front page of what was once the most important newspaper (content aside) in Indiana. As Indiana has been reduced in stature to North Alabama, The Star has met a similar fate. It was a race to the bottom, and here we are.

We are the #2 worst air polluter in the US. We are the #1 worst water polluter in the US.

We sold the revenues to the only decent toll road in the state.

We "lost" a half-billion in important tax revenues.

But we did fix important things like the time-zones, unless you live in the slow-time zone(s).

We decimated public employee unions, debased the trust of free public schools, and threw the FSSA into a ditch, along with the other major public-facing agency, the BMV.

The Star? Bullied its unions, fired a lot of great contributors, bought a fatuous and unneeded printing facility; invested in no end of suburban editions while realizing that the population of Indianapolis proper is a demographic unlike those of its lily-white suburbs, to whom it pandered.

Ryerson fiddled as Indy burned. Buoyed by an expensive SuperBowl fete, its major football team, subsidized with tax dollars, went into the crapper. Suburbs build Performance Arts arenas as monuments to their wealth, so that children might be torn away from their video games. The mind reels. St Harrison of Ullmann, we need your grace.

2012-04-11 12:43:22

Joseph28Shanna [unverified] said:

Houses and cars are not cheap and not everyone is able to buy it. However, <a href="http://goodfinance-blog.com/topics/home-loans">home loans</a> was created to aid different people in such kind of cases.

2012-04-11 13:37:50

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Hendy, ANY Harrison Ullman reference is a home-run with me. He was one of a kind.

And most of your post is spot-on.

Tom: I believe in the "Giant Karma" theory. Nicki Hailey put a lot of bad shit into the universe for a long time. She got dumped-on a little.

She's still way ahead of the game.

So she'd best keep her eyes open for more falling shit. She and Rove and asshats like DeMint and Jeff Sessions. And, to be fair, Pat Bauer, et al.

There is a Giant Scorebaord. Here, and in the Everafter.
If the Score isnt even by the time you meet your Maker, well, it's even then.

Jason, I love your posts. But if you mis-use "it's" one more time I swear to God I'm gonna Gretchen Kemp throttle you.

North Alabama. I love that one.

2012-04-11 17:24:34

Ms. Cynical [unverified] said:

North Alabama? Yup.

Ullmann always said we were the furthest north southern state.

I remember writing an article noting that Hoosiers considered Florida our southern peninsula.

2012-04-12 11:18:52

Seneca [Member] said:

"it's" is a contraction for "it is."

"its" is possessive.

Got it?

2012-04-13 03:01:56

Matt Stone [unverified] said:

I attended a media forum at IUPUI several years ago and Ryerson sat on the panel. I asked how traditional media is going to stay relevant even though newspaper readership and subscribing is down and people seem to steadily resist paying for daily news, especially with local television news affiliates, alternative media, and so on.

Two of the panelists gave great answers. Ryerson touted In-Take and the Star community stuff like indymoms.com or whatever.

Intake, of course, died off a couple years and was largely irrelevant even before then.

That's about my only experience with Mr. Ryerson.

2012-04-13 17:55:23

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