I received a flurry of contacts today about the selection of a new local editor. Picked to replace the new editor was his hand selected choice just last year as an assistant editor.
Here's the text of the e-mail sent out to staff:
I'm pleased to announce that MR (per the policy of Free From Editors, I'm withholding her full name) is our new Local News Editor. In that capacity, M will direct our local news efforts, acting as the day-to-day supervisor for reporters and overseeing the daily and Sunday budgets. She will be in charge of editorial operations when I am not available. Since leaving the reporting ranks to become an editor, M (missed the name in the first go round, I have fixed it, sorry) has demonstrated a great news sense, organization, enthusiasm and a strong leadership style. It should serve us well in the future."
I was a desk neighbor of MR for several years when we were both reporters. She was always nice to me and often complained - along with the rest of us - about the poor personnel skills of the now editor. I liked her a lot. To be fair, I have not worked as a reporter under her and can't really offer an opinion as to her skills, or the lack thereof, but I do know a number of folks sent me the announcement of her appointment with not many nice things to say. None which I will repeat here.
What I do know is that an excellent editor, one with two decades of editing experience - actually much more editing experience than the big editor - is being pushed out the door while the editor continues his policy of rewarding those he personally likes. Guess that's just human nature.
Someone also pointed out that another person who had been a Sunday editor for a number of years was also passed over for this new promotion.
Unlike most other businesses, the news business has a secretive and non-competitive process for selecting who gets promoted. There are rarely postings for advancement and the new promotions simply are announced without offering others a chance to apply. If a government agency ran its advancement programs in that fashion you can believe that any good newspaper editorial writer would lambast them for not giving everyone an equal chance.
What I also know is that whatever editors are left after the latest downsizing, they better start grabbing a phone and a keyboard and start helping out with writing stories or the morale will sink even further than people tell me it is today.