Thursday, September 13, 2012

An interesting article about newspaper brain drain

The subject of experienced newspaper vets departing at the same time is something we have been pondering for awhile.


Anonymous said...

“To me it’s very depressing because of the talent level of those leaving and the institutional memory that’s going to be walking out of the door forever."

That said it all for me. And the truth is, nobody was willing to consider that or could even know the measure of that until the layoffs started a few years ago. Now we see the results, but it's too late. The march to a new type of newspapering continuing.

To Jim Smith....I ran into some laid off FJ folks the other day and the conversation turned to this blog. One person said it was sad that you had not let go of your anger and that's why he never looks at FFE, but I never thought of this as a blog of anger. Just a place to vent without retaliation. Would you consider writing to address that remark, especially with so much hindsight now at your fingertips.

Jim of L-Town said...

Dear Anonymous 12:28:

People who truly know me know that I am not angry. I'm not bitter and I'm not writing this blog for any of those reasons.

I've heard that a time or two in the last five years, but I don't worry about that because I know that I have been helpful to many, many folks inside, because they have told me so. I have also received numerous private e-mails from folks thanking me for this blog.

I am enjoying life. Sure I would have liked to work two more years, but the company very generously paid me two years pay to go away. The way I looked at it was that I left a spot for a younger person to fill.

But I'm a writer, it's what I do, have done and probably always will do until I start forgetting who I am and sit in a wheelchair drooling my days away.

I had my own perspective of what occurred during those past few years when the people who should have known better, and frankly were paid much better to know these things, were asleep at the switch.

If I have any anger it is that the incompetence of a few led to the departure of so many.

I have tried to not be personal in my criticism (I wasn't always successful and for that I am sorry) but an industry that is supposedly a watchdog for so many other institutions surely shouldn't be surprised that someone might just want to watchdog over them.

But I don't take those comments personally. I am not angry, quite the opposite as anyone who sees me on a frequent basis will attest.

If you hear that again, just smile and and nod your head. It really doesn't matter to me.


Anonymous said...

It is incredible when you think of the talent that left all the Booth papers, not the least from the ill-advised "Booth Mid-Michgan" triumvirate of Flint, Saginaw, Bay City - once proud newspapers now reduced to trivialism, Rotary Club journalism and newsrooms that could double as coffee shops (how snarky!).

The Booth Mid-Michigan model was particularly depressing because a large majority of those who left (or were told to leave) never had a chance because they didn't buy into the throw-a-dart-blindfolded ideas of a particular management duo who linked arms as they used the corpses of the "insubordinates" as a ladder to the top (whatever the hell the "top" of a failing company actually is). In short, you either kissed ass or got a death sentence.

I literally saw careers crash and burn in meetings because of things said which suggested they didn't want to drink the company Cool-Aid. Having now worked for other organizations, my hunch has been justified - it was the worst kind of management set up by preening yet insecure leaders who should've never been given keys to the grocery store pony ride, much less to the exhaust spewing lemon with the smiley M-Live face on it.

One could go on and on, and there will be other times and, hopefully, continued space on this blog. The fun part is knowing that at least one of the said duo still reads this blog, attracted like a moth to a flame.

Oh, and let's not forget what could be another subject all of its own - the laughable reign of Daddy's Boy publisher in Flint. All bluster that one, with a constant smirk familiar to those who've been handed everything. But as a leader, well, he couldn't inspire a man dying of thirst to drink from a free bottle of water.