Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cutbacks and layoffs at the KC Star are taking a toll

Bottom Line Communications notices cutbacks at the KC Star have degraded the product given to subscribers.
Eric Adler is one of the finest writers at the Kansas City Star. Over the years he has won numerous journalistic awards.

However, his long, controversial front-page story (1/18) about Greg Baker, newly named Executive Director of Kansas City's Negro Leagues Museum, may have left readers feeling the story lacked some basic details one normally would expect from an Adler profile.

It may have been the kind of article that subtly highlights what happens when key behind-the-scenes Star staffers like copy editors are let go. They are the ones who ask writers to fill in the information gaps in stories readers might want to know.

Baker was profiled in a lengthy story of more than 2,500 words. However, readers probably would have been interested in such details as:

* Where did Baker go to school in Kansas City?

* Did he go to college?
* What qualifications did he have for any of his previous positions?
* His wife is simply labeled as a "consultant." What kind? Where?
* Where does he live? KC or suburbs?
* Does it bother him that Star sports columnist Jason Whitlock has trashed his appointment?
* Does it bother him that Star sports columnist Joe Posnanski (who was a close friend of O'Neil's and wrote a superb book profiling him) has said that he will no longer step inside (LINK) the Museum because of the naming of Baker?

Adler is a superb journalist. This might simply be another example of where cutbacks at KC's largest newspaper have diminished the product delivered to subscribers.
Since Adler's name is attached to the story I wouldn't be so quick to let Adler off the hook. But Bottom Line Communications has found another example of how the quality at the KC Star has slipped.


Anonymous said...

“…cutbacks at the KC Star have degraded the product given to subscribers."

The KC Red Star is so pathetic, how could anyone tell the difference?

Anonymous said...

Has anybody seen Rhonda Zieman Lokeman lately?

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:11 PM

Like who would be looking for SheBat?

Anonymous said...

Interesting how Lokeman collects her income. What year did she marry the boss? Court case info about child support contains info about her salary.

WD62821: Rhonda C. Lokeman, Respondent v. Mark C. Flattery, Appellant. Child Support
Case Number: WD62821.

When re-directed search for case, WD62821

At the time Husband filed his modification motion (January 2001), Mother worked full-time for the Kansas City Star, receiving a yearly salary of around $70,000. However,in September 2002,Mother became a part-time employee. Accordingly, her first Form 14 had a PCSA of $890 per month, while the second had a PCSA of $1,047 month, reflecting her change in salary. However, in September 2002,[she became a part-time employee,] retaining only the columnist position. Mother testified that this was an [involuntary change, caused by a change in management.]
Her testimony that the change to part-time employment was the result of new management was uncontroverted

(Much more about salary)
With her new high circulation job, maybe her ex could revisit that payment again.

McClatchy Watch said...

Anon 4:17 -- True, Lokeman claims she is "nationally syndicated" as if that means several newspapers carry her column.

(She just made $70,000 at the KC Star in 2001? Yikes.)

Anonymous said...

I would have some questions about her change being involuntary? Didn't she brag about that change so everything at the KC Star stayed on the up and up? Why should her first husband pay more because she married the boss? I am not sure when she married the boss, but if the time frame is correct,it makes me wonder.

"Mother testified that this was an [involuntary change, caused by a change in management]"

Anonymous said...

I hope the KC bloggers pick up on this Lokeman information. She even put in for the kids summer camp lunches on top of what she received for their regular care. Piano lessons, on and on. All this extra money because she makes nuttin’, just a part-time worker making nuttin’. Work less, make more on your ex old man. Is this a great country or what?

Archer05 said...

I would think there are dozens of employees at the KC Star that think this arrangement with Lokeman is next to immoral. Good journalists losing their jobs while a second class hack remains. If times are so bad, why would they keep her smut in print? Her husband is the boss, and no one dares say a word. Zieman says he is not her editor, good grief, does he think everyone is as daft as he is?

Anonymous said...

They could get rid of the whole Editorial Board and the a## wipe Derek Donovan and save tons of money.

Can't name one quality reporter that works there either.

Anonymous said...

Kansas City Soil Blog
the boss's wife

When I was at the Pitch, we used to read Rhonda Chriss Lokeman's columns out loud to one another and laugh. We couldn't believe that a major paper give one of its top Sunday op-ed column spot to such a bad writer.

But then, she was the editor's wife.

Anonymous said...

Lokeman training professional journalists, that can’t be right. The KC Star paid for a month-long assignment in Kenya? When did she stop working for the KC Red Star? It doesn't seem like she ever corrects anyone.

And in March, to celebrate Freedom of Information Day, the KC-AWC chapter is honored to have as our guest speaker, syndicated columnist and Kansas City Star editorial writer Rhonda Lokeman, who just returned from a month-long assignment in Kenya training professional journalists and discussing press freedoms in Africa.

Anonymous said...

There may be more changes coming to the KC Star after Feb 5. I'm sure the publisher will run another article telling everyone how the paper is making money hand over fist, while reducing staff further saying that corporate needs are of us to lend a helping hand in cutting spending.