Saturday, January 7, 2012

Another former Boothie chimes in about the changes

A former Booth reporter blogs about his reasons for leaving the company a few years ago. Also a nice reflection on some recent changes at the Grand Rapids Press.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I left the Booth family a few years ago during one of the many buyouts that focused particularly on shedding writers (especially those over the age of 45) who had been working for decades accumulating cost of living wages on top of industrial knowledge.

It's hard to say anything critical about the most recent turn of the journalism worm without sounding bitter or envious of the youngsters working there for 24/7 for $15 an hour, but it is without bitterness or envy that I look at what passes for news on the MLive sites and desperately try to refrain from being nauseous.

Even harder to understand is that most of those in upper echelon positions making these momentous decisions for "change for the better" are the same ones who were fiddling while Rome burned.

"It will be better" "We will give you what you want" "This new and better media will be new and better"

No it won't. It can't be.

Eventually the public will notice and demand better. In the meantime, the focus will be advertising and revenue to support the weighty top.

Opinion is passed off as news and anonymous commentary (which grows coarser each day) is encouraged because, like any good car crash, it draws attention, which in the digital age is a measured metric of eyeballs on a page.

Those of us who believed in questioning those in charge and tried to make people uncomfortable for their own good will go on to be PR flaks and "communication specialists and marketing hacks to pay our mortgages and send our kids to college.

And someday, people will notice and bemoan the awful decisions that forced the free press of this country to its knees, left only to those willingly suckle at the teat of the almighty bottom line.

Jim of L-Town said...

Very nice comment. Couldn't agree more.

Anonymous said...

I am one of the employees of the Flint Journal "weeklies" staff that was laid off in 2009. I could not agree with this commenter more. But it's not just this newspaper, it's all of them. Read an article yesterday in our local weekly paper not associated with Booth. It was about a man who had a "widow maker" heart attack but is still alive and being kept alive by specialized equipment. In this article, the man is quoted as saying he died, went to heaven and was sent back. WHAT! That screams for more of an explanation but none was forthcoming. This reporter (a former young FJ photographer who left on his own) fails to talk about what this has done to the family with children, how their lives have changed ... I could ask 100 questions. The article merely talked about the life-saving equipment and very little to nothing about the humans involved. What a travesty!

Newsman (ret.) said...

At my former paper, they didn't bother with furloughs or buyouts. They just laid people off.

They'd come into work one day, editors would call them into the office and tell them to pack it up. No severance or anything.

I lucked out and got out before it happened to me.

I started a blog for other reporters to share their woes. Www.dash30dash.org.

Anonymous said...

Yeah -- MLive Media Group sure is beaking all sorts of ground with this kind of outstanding journalism:

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2012/01/dick_and_betsy_devos_enjoy_the.html

But I'm sure the "story" got a whole buch of hits! Look at all the comments.