Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sorry, I'm working on the salary story

Two things, one I'm currently working on the salary story that I teased a couple weeks ago. I have some figures and will publish my findings very soon.

Also, I'm currently digesting a 5-page memo sent to employees July 31 outlining some major changes to the retirees health plan (for current and future employees). A quick read of the memo seems to indicate that those currently retired are not effected, but there are huge changes ahead for people who work at the Journal and even more for those who will be hired after Jan. 1, 2010.

It's a pretty easy digest for those hired after Jan. 1, 2010: There is no retiree health care plan for those folks and maybe a big incentive for those who have been there awhile and have not yet left, to leave before Dec. 31, 2009.

But, I'm still working over the document and I'll get back to you soon on that.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New blog to read

I'm adding a link to a blog from a former Los Angeles Times reporter and his new blog. William Lobdell is perhaps at the forefront of the new media.

In the previous entry I linked to a particular article, but it might be worth watching Lobdell's OC (Orange County) to see how it develops. For some of our younger newspaper journalists it might be a glimpse at the future.

What he said....

Another insightful examination of my former business.

So good, I wish I had written it

Reflectons of a Newsosaur has a great post today:

Here's another from Fading to Black:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Journal website compliment, really

Over the past few months I've taken plenty of shots at the Journal's website. Most of that comment revolves around the lack of control that the paper has over its own online presence.
So today, with Tuesday's election looming I wanted to pay a compliment to two things I have recently noticed there.

First, I enjoy the new opinion poll features that are included with many of the stories. I love expressing my opinion and I see they are getting quite a number of participants in the polls.
The second thing that caught my eye is the Voter's Guide. The Journal, with the work of one editor named Lou in the 1990s used to put together a fair and comprehensive tab that including all the candidates and issues on the ballot.

The former newsprint voter's guide covered races in northern Oakland, northeast Livingston, much of Shiawassee and all of Lapeer and Genesee counties. People really appreciated the effort.
In recent years, and roughly coinciding with the retirement of Lou, the bosses went to a hap hazard format of election stories that ran in the regular paper staring about seven to eight weeks out from the election right up to election day.

Readers had little idea when the stories about their townships, villages or cities would run and there was not much rhyme or reason about the schedule. With the advent of the Internet it seemed obvious that we could use that resource as a new voter's guide, but it never happened, until this primary election season.

This is very comprehensive and unusually user friendly. My only beef would be that except for the major races (U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress and state representative and state senate races) the out county coverage of local races, Lapeer County, Shiawassee County, etc. is a little thin.

Here's the link:

But let's not spoil the compliment. This is precisely what the online presence is for, and frankly should have been done long before. But when the online presence was the investment of one overworked person, it was simply not possible.

More skunk news with a "Country Chic" touch

Believe it or not, I have yet another encounter with a skunk. We awoke last night about 2 a.m. to the pungent odor of skunk. Sometimes we are visited by skunks, but this was particularly close.

When I got up in the morning to retrieve my copy of the Flint Journal (we have an excellent carrier, by the way) I found the source.

Someone had hit a mature skunk and it was laying in the middle of the road by my mailbox. It was clearly the source of the odor.

After returning from church I found that none of my neighbors had stepped forward to dispose of the skunk so after lunch my wife and I headed out to the road, me with a shovel and she with a large garbage bag to collect the carcass.

My wife immediately called my attention to the obvious "Country chic" moment that we were experiencing. Although I had changed from my Sunday best, she was still dressed nicely and advised she was helping bag a skunk while wearing her Honora pearl necklace.

So we dodged traffic, but bagged up the skunk and after we finished a neighbor of mine, who works from the road commission offered to throw it in his truck and deposit it in the commission's dumpster.

Obviously, this is the week of the skunk. (Photo credit is from Flickr. This is not our skunk, but a photo similar to our skunk. Our skunk was in much worse shape than this. Trust me, you would not have wanted to see a picture of our skunk.

More bad news

If you are in to ruining your Sunday, the site "Fading to Black" has a list of bad news stories about newspapers posted Saturday. Here's the link or look for it in my link list to the right.