Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Flint Journal flap over flip flop

You can't blame Flint Journal staffers for being a little confused this week.

Two weeks ago they were told that a new round of buyouts are coming in October and some have even been called in and told it was probably time for them to take the buyouts and seek new employment. That sounds pretty definitive to me.

But then late last week, the Publisher in a couple of stand-up meetings, said no decisions have been made on any new buyouts or downsizing. The Publisher also denied any pending plans to shut down the press or to consolidate editing or reporting activities.

It's hard to imagine that the editor made up the buyouts or other information out of thin air and if he was honest enough to answer staff questions with what he knew, good for him.

If the Publisher is trying to limit damage from the early release with his "no decisions" comments when the reality is otherwise. Shame on him.

We know one thing. It can't be both ways. Either there is a new buyout plan coming or there is not one. Someone is not being honest.


Anonymous said...

Geez, where is HR in all of this -- can't Newhouse fly in somebody who knows how to communicate clearly with employees?

Anonymous said...

For a bunch of media folks, they sure haven't paid much attention to what good public relations pros do:

1. Get the information out - and be the one to get the information out.

2. Don't give people time to come up with their own theories and ideas, because what they will come up with is guaranteed to be worse than what the truth is.

3. There's nothing that makes a reporter more suspicious than silence and no comment. When you do this, they come after you like pit bulls.

4. Get the information out - and be the one to get the information out.


Anonymous said...

I thought they got rid of all the characters in the first round? Did they miss a few?

Wait, wait, wait — Rickey made it back in the door! Maybe he's eligible for the second round, too!

There is one constant: The people who brought you the last buyout that would fix everything and the three-year plan that would protect those who stayed ... are still in charge.

Anonymous said...

The main reason for the meeting was to address wild rumors about the paper closing or the print shop moving among employees who have been hearing bits and pieces from those who likely face tough choices.

The publisher wouldn't say the consolidations or buyouts were definite, but he did say they were under consideration. That is exactly what the editor said. What he didn't that the editor said was since they're still on the table this late in the game, they were more likely than not. There's no flip-flop here, but still a bunch of employees worried about their future.

Jim of L-Town said...

Thanks anonymous for clearing up the confusion.
I just kind of liked the alliteration of Flint Journal flap over flip flop.
In retrospect, it was a little over the top.

Anonymous said...

With all the uncertainty, some laughed about this message:

"To all Flint Journal employees,

We have a limited number of surplus desks that will be made available to interested employees. If you are interested in obtaining a surplus desk, please contact (name withheld) or (name withheld) for details."

Better than throwing them out, I guess.

Anonymous said...

anxiously awaiting the announcement at my paper ... and the opportunity to possibly buy my desk and take it home with me! what a great souvenir!

Anonymous said...

One of the many things I find so endearing about Newhouse is its ability to make lemonade out of lemons. Such as: Sell the desks of the people you've gotten rid of to the people you're about to get rid of.

You just can't make this stuff up, can you?

To Flack: It's rumored that the Journal editor may be rubbing elbows next month with a bunch of alumni from his alma mater. Maybe the ones who've bailed out of newspapers and into PR can give him some pointers about message management. But the counselors should get their fees upfront because I hear the Journal drags its feet on paying freelancers.

Anonymous said...

any news about today's big meeting in Grand Raps?

Jim of L-Town said...

No, but I'm sure I'll find out soon enough.