Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More trimming at the Flint Journal

The deadline for taking the buyout came and went last Friday and the results show another major downsizing in the newsroom.

Several veteran reporters, a senior editor, the entire imagining department and members of the Internet team will be leaving the Flint Journal as a result of the buyout offer.
On top of that the Community Newspaper division is now down three reporters. A couple have been let go and another one found a job to parachute into. I don't know if there are plans to replace them.

Those staying have received about a one percent raise plus a one percent bonus at the end of this month. That's pretty good, considering what's going on elsewhere.

Let me just say something about several of the news and imaging folks. I know most of them and they were friends, colleagues and wonderful people. They deserved better, but all will survive and thrive. One of them was my next door neighbor in our newsroom pod and is one of the kindest, nicest people I have ever met in or out of journalism.

The feature writer who is leaving wrote some of my favorite feature stories and used to give me a bad time about my lack of culture.

It does seem as if the Internet team is actually shrinking rather than increasing which is surprising because the mantra is, and has been for several years, that the Internet is the way out of the "troubles."

Many of the reporters left (I don't know some of them because they came after I left) are excellent writers and researchers and no doubt will be beaten like rented mules to produce copy. With the departure of a senior editor who also took the buyout, the level of editing and personnel skills will likely drop. Not sure who is in place to replace her, but her departure will also remove one layer of sanity between the editor and the staff.

I worked for this editor for many years, and she took many verbal beatings on my behalf from those above her, so I apologize to her now and thank her for her strength and perseverance when it would have been easier to capitulate. If anyone is looking for a really good editor, one who knows how to assign, organize and edit stories, contact me and I'll try and get you in contact with her.

I haven't heard anything about other departments, but feel free to chime in with that information.

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