Monday, November 27, 2006

In view of Frank's position (supine, I assume).....

...........I thought his regular readers might be interested in The Washington Post's media columnist Howie Kurtz's take on the travails of the newspaper in whose employ Frank labors.

6 comments:

  1. Susan Balée12:56 PM

    Glad you linked to this article, John. Personally, I haven't yet figured out our new owner. I think Brian Tierney is proud to be the new leader of The Inquirer -- our father figure, as it were -- but he also seems to think of the staff as lazy, wasteful teenagers. My sense is he's treating the newsroom with Tough Love: No car keys (or raises) for us until we get our butts in gear and up the profit margin!

    Well, at this rate, not only are we not going to get into Harvard, we're not going to make any splashes at the Columbia Journalism School either. You can't win Pulitzers on a steady diet of the journalistic equivalent of Ramen soup, short-staffed and relentlessly worried about whether you'll still be here in a week. (I write this knowing full well that our union may be on strike in a couple of days.)

    Note to Brian: The best managers praise their staff, make them *want* to do more. Threatening staff with lay-offs and pension freezes is not the way to get the best out of your workers. The newsroom is anxious. Do the right thing with the contract and you'll have far more willing, innovative workers.

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  2. Susan Balée1:02 PM

    Addendum: Praise for the Pulitzer-worthy series we just published (a nice kickoff to the Tierney Era, and we have to hope the game won't end an Eagles fiasco):

    John Shiffman's Drugnet series about Akhil Bansal, the Philly grad. student and Internet drug king.

    Way to go, J.S.: Brilliant reporting, first-rate writing, and a huge credit to the newsroom.

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  3. Anonymous1:20 PM

    Maybe Brian Tierney believed that other big-bucks guy, Charles Foster Kane, when he said, "I think it would be fun to run a newspaper."

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  4. Interesting article, John, and brave comments, Susan. These are hard times for editorial types, of whom I am one.

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  5. Anonymous3:23 PM

    From what Mr. Tierney had to say to Mr. Kurtz about gutting the Inquirer's own coverage of national and international news, it would appear that he is among the many Americans who believe that all we need to know is what's happening in our own backyards, and just be lazy and stupid and head-in-the-sand about the rest of the world. Sure, the paper can get the bare minimum of national and world news from bland wire services that are carried by hundreds of other papers, but those stories won't tell readers what that news means to us here at home.

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  6. More notes on the Inquirer’s death by a thousand cutbacks:

    Brian Tierney has also proposed to eliminate seniority rights at the Inquirer, which would make it easy for him to lay off anyone he wants to. This presumably explains the anonymous postings here.

    His talk of increased emphasis on local news is nothing new. If any single theme characterizes the Inquirer's editorial focus over the past twelve to fifteen years, it is increased focus on local news. During that time the paper's circulation and journalistic standing have plunged, its staff has been gutted, and it has had more editors-in-chief than I can remember. In what other business, I wonder, and at what other company would the response to a decade and a half of failure be a renewed commitment to the policies that have failed?

    Finally, as a copy editor, I can’t help note that Howard Kurtz’s article is just the latest in a nearly infinitely long list of articles about the Inquirer that failed to quote any copy editors or news editors – the people who put the paper together, in other words. If it’s any consolation to Kurtz, there will be fewer of us for him not to quote the next time he writes about us.

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