Thursday, January 7, 2016

Some sad news from my former employer

Sadly, the hits keep coming. I agree with the writer that this could not come at a worst time for journalism. As for Ann Arbor, as I wrote when they folded the Ann Arbor News tent, it was doomed from the start. But I do wish my friends and colleagues the best. They are doing the best with very little.


Anonymous said...

MLive continues to slide. But it's not the only Michigan news organization to do so. Even Jesus couldn't save The catholic Times and Catholic Weekly from industry changes:

Wonder if they considered merging their four editions. Surely they did and rejected the idea as unworkable or too little too late.

Anonymous said...

Another piece on MLive's demise locally:

And CJR's take on the cutbacks:

Anonymous said...

More MLive news. Come Heller or high water has hit a high-water mark. Andrew Heller pens his last column for the media organization.

Interestingly, he doesn't explain why this is his final MLive column, so one must assume he's a victim of the MLive cutbacks we've been reading about here, if few other places. So MLive's bloody ax finally befalls Andy after all these years.

I, for one, at least, have questioned the propriety of Andy's column since formally leaving the FJ's staff several years ago. I know of no other regular outside MLive columnist who works, or has worked, full-time at a PR firm. And nowhere does MLive, or Andy's column boilerplate, reveal that fact for readers.

Perhaps worse, as Andy reveals in his final MLive column, MLive had continued to pay him for his columns.

Heave any of Andy's post-FJ employers done lobbying in Lansing or Washington, DC? If so, that makes his MLive columnist gig even more questionable.

All this may not add up to the most serious of newspaper conflicts or breaches, but I still think it had been an issue until now. Apparently, MLive saw no such issue, or if it did, it decided to turn a blind eye for the past several years, preferring instead to exploit Andy's popularity as a columnist.

That said, Andy's writing talent and popularity are what enabled him to survive this long at a slowly dying news organization. He deserves credit there. And no one need feel sorry for Andy -- he continues to work full-time as far as I can tell -- no thanks to MLive (for more than one reason - Ha!)

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Flint water crisis, part of its sad chronology includes a state decision on water treatment that supposedly was incorrect because it was based Flint having fewer than 50,000 residents when, in fact, it has a population of more than 100,000 population.

This from the Detroit News:

"On Sunday, Wyant said staffers applied standards of the Lead and Copper Rule that were designed for populations below 50,000. Flint has a population of roughly 100,000, which triggers a different set of criteria and includes performing two six-month testing programs of local water to determine proper corrosion controls."

But interestingly, Flint's actual population as of 2014, according to our official source of such things, the US Census, was below 100,000 (99,000):

And as we all know, Flint's population, even pre-water crisis, has been steadily declining year after year for decades. How many peeps have fled the ruined city in the past year? Right, it's a lot, though certainly there still are more than 50,000 people there.

The point of all this is, because federal regs often are precise to the letter, maybe that water treatment misstep actually wasn't a misstep at all. What exactly do the regs say on this subject when a city's population is more than 50,000 but less than 100,000? Maybe that particular decision wasn't wrong as has been reported and assumed ad nauseam.

I'm not trying to minimize the severity of the problem facing Flint residents. Their drinking water is tainted and even toxic. And multiple entities should have acted earlier and more responsively. Just pointing out one supposedly very wrong decision may not be as wrong as has been reported and commonly accepted.

Maybe Flint resident and political pundit Bill Ballanger isn't so wrong after all.

The truth will come out in the wash one day, and the laundry may not be quite as dirty as most everyone is saying now.

Anonymous said...

Some FJ/MLive personnel news for you FJ junkies:

Come Heller ...

Anonymous said...

More former MLivers in the news:

Bailing ship or just moving on up? You decide. Discuss among yourselves, assuming this is posted sometime this century.

One wonders if the Flint water crisis has boosted the FJ's circulation...