Two new blogs

Dateline: Wed 22 Oct 2008

Kelly Jones Sharp is a frequent contributor to the Star's culture watch on the op-ed pages; she covers about everything from politics to personal relationships, often provocatively. Like most writers, she has more to say than any newspaper can ever publish. Check out her musings on her new blog:

http://360.yahoo.com/indykjsharp

Also being added to the blog roll is cooking nurse. Why? She's Canadian and a nurse; she sounds a little like my Thai daughter-in-law when she writes. But this is a democratic site, and besides all that, she has what sounds like a good recipe for apple strudel. And Hoosiers love apple strudel...don't we?

http://cookingnurse.blogspot.com

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The baby is my boss...

Dateline: Tue 21 Oct 2008

Hence musings have been scarce of late. That, plus the baby has had pink eye, an ear infection, and a continually runny nose ("Nose!") which he generously shared. That, plus moving to the tiniest and most modest house in Butler-Tarkington, have provided their own small challenges.

The baby is no fan of politics or city life in general. He prefers Wiggles with an occasional side trip to a You Tube video of a hippo and a dog performing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," altho yesterday I tricked him into watching Alvin and the Chipmunks. His idea of getting out is the park, with a side trip to Illinois Street Food Emporium. "Cookie!"

I'm working now, providing baked potatoes, baths and bottles for the baby, and picking up his older brother from St. Thomas Aquinas. Pink eye delayed my corneal transplant until Nov. 5. Thank you, baby.

But life goes on. Look later today for a post on two new blogs in town.

And how about "that one"? Speaking of the activity, I was pleased to run into an old source, Carl Rising-Moore, at Obama headquarters. He's the tall, blondish guy in blue jeans standing at a Broad Ripple corner every evening, selling Obama yard signs. (He will barter). Funny, I used to think of Carl as radical. Now he's just another comrade.

God bless America, and God save the baby.

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Is McCain taking Indiana for granted?

Dateline: Fri 10 Oct 2008

The Star's political writer Matt Tully has a pretty good column this morning, questioning why Sen. John McCain is ignoring Indiana in terms of campaign visits -- an absence all the more apparent since Sen. Barack Obama, his rival, was here Wednesday.

Tully, who was at Obama's massive (21,000) gathering at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Wednesday, says the question of "where is McCain?" was on everyone's lips during Obama's appearance.

Not where I sat, it wasn't. McCain is not even an afterthought; he's a zero, less than. The people sitting around me -- union workers, middle class black and white men and women, kids, pissed off Republicans -- were excited about Obama, not fretting over McCain.

"Of course, some Republicans downplay the importance of visits," writes Tully. "They say they're nice but not vital. They suggest that if McCain loses a reliably red state such as Indiana, he'll have lost the election in a landslide."

Wouldn't that be sweet?

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Guild flap with Star makes Editor and Publisher

Dateline: Thu 09 Oct 2008

Thanks to reader Jim Burns, who sent the following story which is running today on the Editor and Publisher website:

"Guild: 'Indy Star' Should Have Sought Layoff Volunteers

By Joe Strupp

Published: October 09, 2008 11:50 AM ET

NEW YORK Should The Indianapolis Star have asked for volunteers before announcing specific layoffs last August? The Indianapolis Newspaper Guild thinks so.

At least in the case of five of its members that the union claims were wrongly terminated.

"There would have been volunteers, I know of three for sure," Guild President Abe Aamidor contends. "There were several others who were thinking about it."

Aamidor's comments followed this week's decision by the guild to formally seek arbitration in the layoff of five newsroom employees.

Aamidor said the Aug. 19 layoff announcement of 23 Star employees, including seven newsroom staffers, did not follow a seniority provision in the contract. He said that would have protected five of the newsroom employees who were let go.

"Layoffs have to be by seniority," he said of the three-year guild agreement that expires at the end of 2008.

The disputed layoffs include sports copy editor Mark Morrow, designer Mark Koenig, picture editor Greg Fisher, and non-reporter newsroom staffers Kathleen Singleton and Jonathon LaRosa. "Other people were hired more recently than them," Aamidor has said. "There are people who have been working at the paper for less time."((

A guild release on the arbitration request, filed Tuesday, added that a voluntary request for layoffs also would have made a difference: "In August, and in virtually every meeting we have had with management, the Guild implored the company to explore the idea of 'volunteers' for the impending layoffs. We know of coworkers who are interested in an early exit, and who wanted to spare other employees who are earlier in their careers and want to stay."

Editor Dennis Ryerson declined comment Thursday. Publisher Michael Kane did not immediately respond to phone calls.

Several Tribune Co. papers have sought volunteers for layoffs, while Aamidor contends at least two other Gannett Co. dailies did the same thing. Such practices have been put into place more in recent months as newspapers cut staff, but do not formally offer buyouts.

The Star layoffs included one week's pay for each year of service, Aamidor said. He said the next step is for the union and the paper to agree on an arbitrator.

Joe Strupp (jstrupp@editorandpublisher.com) is a senior editor at E&P."

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Just save the jobs, please

Dateline: Wed 08 Oct 2008

Here is part of the Gannett party line on the changes coming for Indy.com. Let it rip:

"Currently, the plan is the have Indy.com and Metromix.com coexist until the beginning of December and then Indy.com will go through a transformation. The calendar portion of Indy.com will be moving to Metromix.com and this will become Indianapolis's new entertainment website. Indy.com will continue to exist in the future but will have more editorial content on lifestyles of the young, socially active. Indy.com will also become more of a social networking site and will become customizable, such as a MyYahoo where you can create your own page based on what you would like to see there."

Newspapers et all are always evolving. I recall working for Scripps Howard and having fits because the head office kept messing with the symbol of the chain: the lighthouse. Just leave the lighthouse alone, I thought. Don't modify the lighthouse.

But "change is what makes the world go 'round," and change is what is happening in the industry. My biggest concern at this stage of the game: don't eliminate any more positions. And keep the faith....

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