Thursday, March 5, 2009

Abrasive N&O senior editor Linda Williams to oversee combined Features departments in North Carolina newspapers

Linda Williams, the controversial senior editor at the News & Observer who once called Sarah Palin's then-17 year daughter "America's most famous baby mama" in an internal company memo, has been tapped to oversee a merger of the Features departments in McClatchy's newspapers in Raleigh and Charlotte.

After Williams' controversial memo was published by blogger G.D. Gearino, Williams dashed off a blistering, defensive email to Gearino that raised questions about her temperament. There had already been a bottle throwing incident which occurred after Williams was challenged by staff over assignments.

I understand a number of her colleagues at the N&O had been hoping she would be gone after the next round of layoffs. (Hat tip: email)
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UPDATE: From a comment at Newspapertrails (which now appears to have been deleted):

... She is just terrible. Has no journalism talent, no people skills, no ability to see past her own nose. She is incredibly rude and overall a terrible person. The entire community agrees, as does just about everyone at the N&O....
UPDATE #2: Another reader makes the point she wasn't popular but that doesn't mean she was a bad editor.
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58 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good grief. She's uglier than Lokeman. Barf.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, with a nose like that and a head like a basketball no wonder the staff is in dispute. She probably hits the bottle quite often for the throwing ammo. Heck, Mcclatchy wouldn't have to do any layoffs - the staff will glady quit without any severance package.

Anonymous said...

I'll be damned. Jason Whitlock does have a momma after all. Note the obese eye lids? I'd recognize him anywhere.

Anonymous said...

OMG! Now I get why they are going bankrupt.

You MUST not post any pics like this. Now, it is all clear now, and MNI's end is clear.

It's like shooting fish in a barrel of SLIME.

Anonymous said...

Game Over, Chapter 11

Anonymous said...

What she looks like doesn't matter. I've dealt with the features ed for the Observer and her and I can't believe they'd choose her "leadership" over his, or any others. What do the staffs think?

Anonymous said...

OK, who would you say is America's most famous baby mamma?

Seems to me to be an accurate comment.

Oh, and are all of you racists?

Nice folks this blog attracts.

Anonymous said...

Having worked around, though thankfully never directly for, thanks to some clever moves on my part, Linda Williams, I have to declare her to be one of the worst people I've ever met. She doesn't care about anything but the color of skin. She deserved to be fired long before McClatchy realized it was in trouble. She is only kept on staff for one reason, and that is her race. This is an incredible disgrace to this already disgraced company.

McClatchy Watch said...

Agree, what she looks like doesn't matter. What matters -- and what seems to bother her co-workers -- is her behavior.

Anonymous said...

I've had the pleasure of working at the NandO for several years with Linda. One comment suggests, partially inaccurately, that she only cares about skin color. I'm aware of several incidents involving members of her own race that produced enemies.

Moral: She hates black people too.

Her transgressions consist of many examples of how not to conduct oneself in a professional environment from screaming threats, throwing items, and using racial slurs that would get the average Caucasian tossed on their ear (literally and figuratively).

Myself, I've walked past her in hallways for years without so much as a "hello" until recently.

As a current staff member, rest assured, she's neither liked nor respected in the office.

Anonymous said...

Re: "As a current staff member, rest assured, she's neither liked nor respected in the office."

Maybe that's why they keep promoting her?

Anonymous said...

Somewhat related question: Anyone know if the former sports writer who claimed she said racist things to him (he's black, too) is still on the payroll?

Anonymous said...

First off. Are some of you people two year olds? Members of the Klan? Cut the nasty racist crap...now...Holy Smokes! And we thought buying KRT was a mistake. This woman has no talent except to race bait and belittle anyone who comes close to questioning her authority. Her main function at the N&O seems to be writing a "daynote twice a week that consists of about three paragraphs talking about that morning's paper. Most of the time she even spells a reporter's name right. Something stinks to high heaven in this deal. More proof that in this company the more incompetent you are the higher you will rise. Well this will sure help with the cutting of staff. It won't surprise me if they all run off screaming into the night, especially the Charlotte staff when the see her style of mis-management.

Anonymous said...

Bottle-throwing incident? Fantasy. I've worked here for years and heard of no such thing.

She's a good editor.

Anonymous said...

I denounce all of you and your gender/racial/hegemonic/speciesist insensitivity. I denounce myself for reading those comments. Additionally I denounce myself for laughing at some of those comments.

Personality reintegration classes can not happen soon enough for the lot of us.

Anonymous said...

This gives me no hope whatsoever. She is a disgrace to the business. She was hired by Sill and in the same tradition had made some of the worse hires ever at the News & Observer. She was also behind the frenzied coverage of the Duke lacrosse case at the beginning where she salivated over the prospect of hanging some rich white boys before there was any evidence. The lopsided coverage at the beginning of that debacle was directed by her and woe unto those who pleaded for restraint. Perfect example that crap rises to the top.

Anonymous said...

Posted by anonymous:

"Anyone know if the former sports writer who claimed she said racist things to him (he's black, too) is still on the payroll?"

--- Back to me ---

Yes, we know. No, he's not.

After getting word from his supervisor that there was pressure from the top to ambush his review, the sports writer in question fell ill and was unable to eat for weeks resulting in 30lbs of weight loss over the course of a month. While on doctor prescribed leave, there was an attempt to terminate him. Further info risks exposing my identity. But it was a F***ed up situation to say the least.

Oddly, the particular slur that was used is a little known slur amongst African Americans in their 30's. The sports writer in question actually had to look it up. Fortunately, he's moved on.

Newsance said...

The most reasonable answer to this person's elevation to a managerial position is that she alone will cause enough staff to quit in order to prevent firings.

Anonymous said...

SO many good editors are universally beloved.

Anonymous said...

anom441...you must not work at the paper. This bottle throwing incident was not fantasy. The recipient of the launched object was afraid to report it to Human Resources because as with many tyrants, Williams has incredible weight and is not afraid to throw it around and bully people. And I must say in all truthfulness, you are the first and only person I have ever heard say she was a good editor. Good and editor are two words even apart that fail to describe Williams. Oh, and the African-American writer, no he's gone.

Anonymous said...

In response to anom557 in all the years I've been around I have found the majority, that would mean most if you don't get it, editors are good people and although some are firm they are good at what they do. Williams is the antithesis of that. Someone earlier used the word bully. That is being kind. She is a gasbag and uses her position to belittle people to make herself feel good. She has no desire to make the paper better. She is a poser. A journalistic vampire who sucks the life out of talented writers because she is jealous. She has never had any talent, she has used the race card to move her way to where she is. The sad and pathetic thing is Drescher is a coward and afraid to stand up to her.

Anonymous said...

I have lived my life with the "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" philosophy.
But when it comes to Linda Williams, I throw that motto out the window.
She has done more to harm the News & Observer and the Triangle community than anyone in recent memory.
She is racist. She is rude to women, especially young white women who work in this newsroom and are on a path of upward mobility. She will do anything to advance herself and her agenda. I have heard other editors on her level complain about her and say they won't do something they know is right because they don't want to fight with Linda. So even when she's not actually doing anything (which is par for the course with her anyway) she is still preventing the right things from being done.
She does not speak to anyone who is white, unless it's an attractive male in her age group.
Interesting, too, to note that she is supposed to be in Charlotte a few days a week now. I believe she's raising a few nieces/nephews. Wonder how that'll work out.
Also, is it possible this is actually a demotion?

Anonymous said...

I want to apologize for some of the things I have said about Linda on here. Bringing her down is not going to help anyone in any way, and it's something I shouldn't have done.

Anonymous said...

Not to worry, we have one "just like it" married to the guy in the 0val 0ffice

Anonymous said...

Classic. I've never seen a more inept group of managers in one place, ever. I am not at N&O but at another MNI paper. Guess it's epidemic. No amount of cost cutting can save us when the surgeon is really just a simple minded butcher with a dull knife and a drooling, maniacal grin. Tragic.

Anonymous said...

Classic. I've never seen a more inept group of managers in one place, ever.



Then you haven't looked at the white house lately. Drug addicts, terrorist lovers, tax evaders, traitors, extortionists and thieves. Isn't affirmative action wonderful!

Anonymous said...

She is ugly. Lokeman is ugly. Heck, Michelle Obama is ugly. There is nothing racist about calling an ugly woman ugly.

Anonymous said...

March 5, 2009 5:07 PM
"After getting word from his supervisor that there was pressure from the top to ambush his review,"

Yes, McClatchy managers do that, don't they? Salt the old personnel file to shore up the layoffs they want.

Anonymous said...

March 5, 2009 3:46 PM:

"Nice folks this blog attracts."

Please hit the old newspapertrail and go back to your pity party. We understand we're just white trash over here and not fit to be in your fine company. Go, and leave us in peace in our trailer park. Hurry! Your latte is getting cold!

Anonymous said...

Michelle Obama is not ugly.

Anonymous said...

Come on. Those of you who want to pound Williams for her obvious lack of physical beauty are WAY off the mark. Physical beauty has nothing to do with being competent. Sure, she ain't the prettiest flower in the patch, but COME ON, it has nothing to do with her incompetence. Trust me, she be the most beautiful woman in the world but that wouldn't change her being totally incompetent. Nothing will change that.

Anonymous said...

March 5, 2009 6:24 PM:

You are brave to state that an editor of color at McClatchy is racist. The bias at McClatchy is not something you can bring up unless you want to be tarred (and feathered) as a racist. McClatchy just has a greater tolerance for mistakes, even libel suits, brought on by editorial staff of color than by white staffers.

Anonymous said...

I think all the comments about Linda Williams' looks ought to be removed, for what it's worth. And Michelle Obama is on the cover of Vogue this month and is anything but ugly. So take it back.

I hate McClatchy, too, being a former staffer and all.

Anonymous said...

March 5, 2009 4:48 PM

OMG! Sill is Rick Rodriguez in a skirt!

Anonymous said...

anom 925 is correct, Williams might be FUGLY but that nothing to do with her total incompetence

JAT said...

Can anyone surmise what motivation Ob ed Rick Thames might have in agreeing to this situation?

Anonymous said...

I just recently discovered this blog. I'm a laid off McClatchy employee looking for news about my former employer and the newspaper industry as it freefalls. I will look elsewhere. The level of discourse on this blog is infantile. No, that's insulting to infants.
It's Limbaugh-tile. Goodbye.

Anonymous said...

Good. Glad to hear it.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but Michelle Obama is quite hideous. Not as bad as Linda Willias or Lokeman, but plenty ugly. Woof Woof.

Anonymous said...

Good lord, this is like middle school. But with more bigots.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, kind of reminds me of a McClatchy newsroom. Full of Affirmative Action Bigots.

Anonymous said...

kevin, can't you do something about the junior high klan member's who keep posting here?

Anonymous said...

Linda Williams, Michelle Obama and Lokeman are hidous creatures.

However, to all the offended, Brianna looks good.

And if you want racism, tell that to Obama and his bigot mentor/friend for 20+ years, Rev. Wright.

Anonymous said...

WTF has charlotte gotten itself into?

Anonymous said...

This is the poisonous dialogue that you experience everyday at the N&O. If we spent half the time thinking up stories that we spend trashing colleagues, picking favorites, kissing ass and making sure that we parrot the company line of the day, we wouldn't have any trouble attracting readers.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is just sooooo delicate. I thought newsies were tough.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, kind of reminds me of a McClatchy newsroom. Full of Affirmative Action Bigots." March 6, 2009 11:17 AM

Hey, did we work together or are all McClatchy newsrooms like that? Thank you for saying that.

Anonymous said...

Diversity is the third rail of McClatchy, but did you read all the comments on one thread at newpapertrails2 about how all the 55+ employes should be shown the door? Agism is okay, I guess. I left my PC playbook behind in the newsroom, so I'm not up to date.

Anonymous said...

Confidential to 5:12 p.m.: At McClatchy we had to spend a day every couple of years in "diversity training." The white guys would sit in the back and not say a word. The persons of color sounded off on every topic. We had to give our ethnic backgrounds to a couple of "facilitators" who were running the show who wrote it all down on a blackboard. I guess someone felt better afterwards -probably the company's attorneys.

Anonymous said...

I never thought I'd throw in with anyone who wrote some of the stuff I'm reading here, but it almost acts as an antidote to the liberal PC ideology you have ringing in your ears year after year.

3:07 p.m., the poisonous dialogue would be pretty hard to impossible to take.

John Altevogt said...

If McClatchy is not racist in its practices how does one possibly explain the Vice-Presidencey of Lewis Duigiud of the Kansas City Star. His column became a national embarrassment when he claimed that socialism was a codeword for black (apparently for all those who hadn't already noticed that Barack Obama was black).

My own favorite was when he claimed that negative diversity led to negative productivity. Operationalize those concepts if you will, other than pointing to Lewis himself as an example of the latter and an excuse for the former.

As we speak The Star has wisely eliminated the column that was a constant embarrassment to the paper and mute testimony to the paper's misguided affirmative action program, but they retain him as a VP (apparently of nothing) while quality reporters are shown the door.

Anonymous said...

I am a very close friend of that black sports writer who was kicked out. I think Linda Williams is a well dressed and well-groomed person. I hate that the conversation slipped into personal attacks on her physical image.
That said, Linda Williams is an abusive manager who ran black people - especially light skin black people - out of the N&O for years. My man was put on probation for not writing enough stories (she wanted 3 per week), even after he pointed out that he was averaging almost four already. He was also on probation for a having a junkie desk.
Prior to the meeting where he was given that suddenly crappy review, he told the Publisher (a brother) that in a meeting with the sports editor, Linda told him not to write so many stories about black people. Stunned, he told her he no longer wanted to discuss race with her.
She said "You're trying to Mao-Mao me". He'd never heard that term. He looked it up, and it's pretty much every racist term rolled into one. Google it. Comes from a tribe in Africa, but used to mean big-lipped, spear chucker....everything u can think of. It's actually the perfect racist word.
But she said it to him in front of a white sports editor...crushed his heart to have a so-called sister tell him that.
Anyway, he printed out the meaning and took it to our black publisher. Later, when in said messed up review meeting with the editor, I suppose the publisher called her.
She burst into the room and told the sports writer "Orage can not save you"...Orage is the publisher. I suppose he runs the N&O.
She banged the table and pointed her finger in his face.
On the bottom of a page in the N&O employee handbook, it says all concerns about race should be taken to Orage or HR and that retaliation would not be tolerated. He took his concerns to both. Linda works there still.
She was also in the room when the N&O decided to send no black people to cover Katrina, even though several black writers begged to go cover it.
The sports writer was out sick on doctor's leave when he got a letter in the mail, informing was fired. I had my lawyer call, got my job back. But when it was time for me to return, they had eliminated my position, saying I could be a night truck driver.
True story from the guy who saw it up close and took it very personal.
You may not find a worse manager in journalism, many would say.
I worked in features in Raleigh - if I were in Charlotte, I'd be worried about verbal and physical attacks. Racial ones, too.
Just my two cents from a person who has worked for her.
Just awful. Awful. Like call the police and Jesus at the same time awful.

Anonymous said...

I agree with a previous poster, I don't like saying unpleasant things about people, but sometimes people need to have it said about them for the good of others.
Apparently, this women is a danger to others, and eventually journalism - her job.
On the original blog, somewhere, someone wrote that just because she's unpopular doesn't make her a bad manager.
Just the opposite, in this bad time for journalism, morale is very important. I've spoken to SEVERAL former and current N&O employees who said her personality makes it hard to even come to work. Personality and a healthy work place make for productive employees - the opposite occurs when wicked witch of the west tactics, including yelling, racist remarks and even reported bottle throwing are used.
I heard her lack of personal skills, and knowing the impact her leadership style - she's admitted that keeping people upset and in fear for their jobs is her management style - are probably tied to her lack of family.
What she does affects people's homes and lives - and eventually journalism and the community as a whole.
But if you have nothing at home then you don't understand what you do to people. It's easy to cackle at home at night when no one is there to tell you you're wrong.
She's probably just a person with a poor soul, lack of journalistic and workplace standards and operation.
And to read that she attacks white and black is really sad, it means she has - really - no one.
But she does have a job and makes McClatchy a much better place to work.

Anonymous said...

The sports writer who was fired was doing a terrible job as a beat writer, routinely turned in stories that were three to four times longer than budgeted, had to have the majority of his stories rewritten by the sports desk and had been caught
doing some unethical writing. Yes, he deserved to lose his job.
BUT, he absolutely did not deserve what he got from Linda Williams. In fact, she got people who wanted him canned months earlier to rally around him.
She really is evil. She doesn't deserve to keep a job while so many others are losing theirs. There were people who were in upper newsroom mgmt who served diversity roles and did much less harm than she does, and even did some good, which she has not done in at least a decade.
She truly is harmful to everyone in her presence. I just wish someone had the decency to toss her overboard to save some of the workers who deserve good things, like a paycheck.

Anonymous said...

actually, that is completely untrue. Not only was the writer all over all three beats he covered, he was also praised usually in his performance reviews.
His performance did decline when he got sick, but it was understandable. He's an good, not great reporter who ran into a bad situation with a bad boss.
That unethical statement should be backed up with proof. I can't speak of rewrites, but I know that he was always considered a good writer.
He could be an ass and pompous, but that charge needs to be backed up.
If you can...and if ur a journalist, you know that's a hard charge, you should put ur name behind it.

Anonymous said...

If we're talking about this woman, whom i've met, being a bad journalist or even person. Or a bad option to work at Raleigh or Charlotte. But why the racist chatter?
She may be a terrible human being/editor, but why are all of you talking about race. Just reading this, she attacks everyone.
This post has become racist.
Let's talk about McClatchy and its employees, but to physically attack her and all the race talk is ugly.
I've met her. I was not impressed, but she is a lady and should be respected as such.
Even if she is a terrible and unsuitable leader.
But for McClatchy, they must be concerned that this blog even exists about one editor.
How old is she?
It might be easier to part with her, save some money and keep 3 or 4 more reporters.

Anonymous said...

I was an N&O subscriber for over four years; I began reading the sports section(for th first time ever) when I discovered a very talented writer who often covered an "ethnic" angle which was often missing in the N&O. He covered history, got great coaches and players quotes and made the sports real for me! Then he disappeared and now I think some of the reasons have been discussed in your blog.
I have cancelled my subscription and look for the writer in other publications; hope he will write a book some day.
If only half of what you say in this blog is true, I pray for all of you; stress is not a good daily workplace additive!!!

Anonymous said...

anom307....obviously you didn't read most of the posts. The racist chatter about Linda Willimas is on the post because she brings race into the mix quite frequently with her mis-guided public comments and some of her personal attacks on people she works with. I agree with some posts that making fun of her looks and physical characteristics are wrong. But she should have been one of the first to be fired, layed off, or downsized along with the FOL (friends of Linda) who she's protecting as I type from getting the axe. As far as most newsroom employess go most wonder exactly what it is she does except write two day notes a week....and each of those must take her all of five minutes to complete.