In the spring, Mark McCormick was in his 14th year working at his hometown Wichita (Kan.) Eagle as a local columnist, Christina M. Woods was a cultural affairs reporter there and Jeffrey H. Martin covered Kansas State U. athletics. All are African American, and by summer, all were gone from the paper.
The only black journalist left is Jonathan Long, who covers high school sports. Long, 27, has been at Kansas' largest newspaper, owned by the McClatchy Co., for only a year, and McCormick was one of the reasons he came.
McCormick left the Eagle after his position was cut to half-time. He is now executive director of a museum. Woods, who reportedly left the paper over the stress and turmoil over furloughs and downsizing, is a community relations specialist for a local school district. Martin took a position at the Houston Chronicle.
I'm glad to hear McCormick, Woods and Martin landed on their feet. But does the quality of the Eagle's product rise or fall based on the skin color of its reporters? What do you think?
Update: a reader doubts newspapers have a much of a minority subscriber base:
"...Most newspapers lost minorities as subscribers long ago, if they ever had them. It was corporate directives and guilt that made newspapers hire minorities years ago. Losing minority reporters won't help or hinder newspapers. Their slow decline will continue."