Monday, March 16, 2009

Cuts being implemented at the KC Star today (updated)

Employees at the Kansas City Star are finding out their fate today. I understand packets are being handed out and the process is taking place over several hours.

Bottom Line Communications is establishing a list of employees getting the axe, click here to see it. (Hat tip: comments)
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20 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://bottomlinecom.com/kcnews/staremployeesletgo.html

John Altevogt said...

Bottomline is reporting that Rick Alm and DeAnn Smith are going (among others). Rick Alm is a stereotype to me of what a reporter should be. He is a throwback to the days before Brisbane and Zieman ruined The Star.

When I moved into Wyandotte County and then was elected to be Chair of the Wyandotte Republican Central Committee I read everything I could get that Alm had written. Even after they reassigned him he came up with more quality stories about WYCO than the WYCO bureau did.

If this man is gone and Lewis Duigiud remains you will have the ultimate evidence of just how pathetic a manager Zieman is.

Anonymous said...

Isn't DeAnn Smith the gal that "broke" the story about the NAACP pulling their convention in solidarity with LaRaza, but never even so much as spoke to someone from the NAACP?

Anonymous said...

Jeez John! How the hell are you going to have a first class McClatchy paper without a VP in charge of racial hatred?

Get with the program home slice. We've got diversity to promote!

Pg1News said...

McClatchy shut down the Olathe Daily News ... it will be merged into the Neighborhood News section of the KC Star.

Anonymous said...

the "list" of employees let go that is listed on the bottomlinecom.com site is not correct. they're only listing folks from the newsroom. as everyone knows except those who work in the newsroom, there are actually other departments at the star.

Pg1News said...

I know ... I'm wondering about sales, human resources, press people .... everyone!

John Altevogt said...

The Olathe Daily News was a nice little newspaper. I'm sorry to hear that it will be sucked into the bowels of hte beast, but you could see that coming when they moved The Star's Johnson County staff into the News building.

And yes, particularly for hose who do not like The Star for whatever reason, let us keep in mind that many people who worked in support positions who had nothing to do with any of the reasons you dislike the paper, but who are now out of work.

This far no news on Lewis Duigiud.

Anonymous said...

It's correct. It's just no comprehensive. The other departments are in our collective thoughts, but there are fewer reasons to name them than to name the folks in editorial who go.

I cannot be certain, but I would bet the good folks at Bottomlinecom.com would be happy to share the names of people from other departments if they were contacted with them.

John Altevogt said...

You can tell that bottomline is getting overworked today. The website is behaving erratically.

Anonymous said...

"as everyone knows except those who work in the newsroom, there are actually other departments.."

Thank you! I've made that point at least 4 times on here, to no avail.

Pg1News said...

Seattle PI goes online only. Last print edition tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if this has been mentioned here, but Mike Hendrick's wife posted on her blog Friday that Mike was forced to accept a move to part-time status, with a 33 percent paycut and elimination of all benefits. Steve Penn is rumored to have faced a similar move.

http://roxiethecockeyedoptimist.blogspot.com/2009/03/destroyer-reveals-his-form.html

I don't like to see anyone suffer like that, but columnists present odd challenges. You can't really ask them to write more news because inhibits their ability to write columns. At the same time, you can't afford to pay someone as much or more than a reporter to write two or three columns a week.

John Altevogt said...

I'm sorry, if there is one area of the current journalistic enterprise that could be cut completely it is in the area of opinion.

With the exception of feedback from readers (which can be covered online) why is this still needed. Kansas City and the Internet are loaded with opinion writers. Does a newspaper really need to add to the cacophony?

What The Star can offer better than any blogger can provide is original research on local issues. They can cover the local football games and sporting events. They can cover the local city council meetings and maintain sources to uncover unethical conduct and yet The Star has butchered its staff of some of the most outstanding reporters you could find.

In the meantime, It has one of the most controversial packs of predominantly left-wing editorial writers you could find and yet it remains virtually unscathed.

So far, the only people I know from that department are Laura Scott (who was indeed useless), Stephen Winn, the deputy editorial page editor (who was very good) and Trudy Hurley (editorial assistant who has been there since the days of Rich Hood).

All three are white and have been there for a long, long time. Neither Winn nor Hurley are controversial. With all due respects, I think it's time to take a look at whether reverse discrimination is taking place with these layoffs, at least in the editorial department.

The editorial staff has been supplemented with several minority writers in recent years. Have any of them been let go? Let me take my favorite example, Lewis Duigiud.

Lewis doesn't even write a column anymore after he embarrassed the entire paper with his idiotic column declaring that socialism was a code word for black, stunning a country that had previously not realized that Sen. Obama was at least somewhat black.

Even before that holding him up as essentially the Star's token black Vice President he was an embarrassment. Rhonda Criss Lokeman in a drunken stupor could out-write, out-think and out-drive him even with only three wheels on the ground. Her I could understand as a VP. Look into Lewis' eyes and you see the back of his skull.

Keeping him around stands as mute evidence of The Star's lack of seriousness (unless they're planning on sell out to the Call) in trying to run a profit making business.

How can you fire Stephen Winn and keep Lewis Duigiud even if you want to argue keeping an editorial staff? Worse yet, how can you call yourself a newspaper and fire someone of the caliber of a Rick Alm and keep this man?

If this paper is in trouble and survival is an issue, shouldn't meritocracy come into play at some point?

Anonymous said...

Like they told Beady Eyed Mike....Buyouts might not be around for the next round. This is actually the big story. There will be additional rounds to follow.

Anonymous said...

John,

I'm inclined to agree with you one reservations: I still think there is a place for newspapers be leaders within their communities.

I don't know, however, that leading necessarily requires columnists. Editorials should do the trick.

Even that, though, needs a serious overhaul. Newspapers have lost touch with the communities they serve.

My hope is that they will come out of the mess with a better understanding of the burden excessive taxation puts on business, but I'm not counting on it.

I would bet there are folks out there holding McClatchy stock who STILL don't realize the struggling business hurts more people than just upper management and the employees who are laid off to "make the rich richer."

John Altevogt said...

I certainly don't have all the answers. I may not have any answers, but I do know that this country is going to go downhill rapidly without dedicated, independent, objective newsgathering organizations.

The problem is that The Star's editorial board cannot lay claim to that mantle. You cannot endorse drunken judges and corrupt congressmen, mayors, legislators and DA's and then buddy up to the establishment on every tax and Edifice Complex they embrace and tell me what a great job you're doing for the community.

I've always criticized The Star not because I hate journalism, but because I absolutely love quality journalism and The Star was not giving it to us.

Indeed, I looked at the quality of the people doing the job and even my feeble mind could tell that they were not being allowed to do their jobs properly.

I really hope lightning strikes The Star and someone wakes up, but again, you cannot fire Stephen Winn and keep Lewis Diuguid and tell me you're dealing fairly with the problem.

Anonymous said...

i cannot count the times i've been given a hateful look when i have told someone i worked at the Star.

why is the editorial staff of the star so out of touch with their readers? instead of sucking up to their buddies from j school why don't they suck up to their demos instead?

the really shitty thing about the star is that it used to have decent writing. now they seem to be fed their scribbling by nancy pelosi.

zieman is gonna go to isn't he? it's quite obvious he couldn't run a newspaper even if he had a sulzberger or 2 in his pocket.

i'd bet that the pitch would be out of business by xmas if he was in charge.

Anonymous said...

i cannot count the times i've been given a hateful look when i have told someone i worked at the Star.

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I learned that lesson myself when I got invited to leave one of the casinos for having a Star logo on my shirt.

I asked if I was violating a dress code and the gal said, "You could say that. If you work for the KC Star you're not welcome here. They write bad things about us and everybody is watching you."

Anonymous said...

So Mike Hendricks now makes $55K a year for working 10 hours a week? Poor guy.

Too bad Jenee Osterheldt hasn't gotten axed. Another worthless journalist making huge sums of $$ for doing 10 hours of work a week. Oh, she is also a terrible writer. At least Hendricks is worth reading.