Newsroom Curmudgeons post a hit

Steve Buttry says of his post on newsroom curmudgeons: “Few things I have written have received as much praise or as much criticism (the two often go together) … I didn’t bother to engage with a few anonymous shots in comments on Romenesko’s blog, but most of the discussion was civil and enjoyable, even when we disagreed. Participate in the discussion of your work and you will elevate the discussion and benefit from it.”

* Lessons learned from a letter to curmudgeons



  1. Steve, your response sounds very curmudgeon-like. I’ve heard a version of this before: “If we’re angering people, we’re doing our jobs.” Maybe, maybe not. In your case, I’d stress the not.

    Your points are rooted in ignorance and weak name-calling. I am not sure you have made and developed one solid point yet. Probably the “best” one so far is when you imply that people don’t help their cause toward better pay when they refuse to learn new tasks. Some people refuse, but I recall trying to get Web site training at the last paper where I worked. It was an experience in itself.

    Once I finally got it, I was sometimes entrenched in the newsroom until 2 a.m. as I waited for Sports to merrily send over its final items. As an hourly employee, I was discouraged from using OT, so unless I had something productive to accomplish and time left to do so, I generally had to use that time for meals, etc. But if someone finished what I needed, I HAD to be right there, waiting to post so we didn’t have any downtime. Not a very efficient system.

    In your world, I am sure you would respond with the tired claim about how I should have pursued my own training outside of work, etc. Again, parts of that are valid, but that type of training would have done little to no good in terms of working with the system at that workplace.

    Finally, if you are going to keep referring to curmudgeons, do you mind if I refer to you as a HUAer? You might even be able to figure out what that stands for.

  2. I might try to figure it out, Wenalway, if I cared what you called me, but I don’t. You accuse me of name-calling and then resort to it yourself. You started this comment by putting words into my mouth that are not at all what I was saying in the piece Jim linked to here. Not only did I not dismiss critics as you suggested, I explicitly acknowledged learning from the responses to the original piece about some ways I could have made it better. You speculate on how I might respond to you and you’re wrong again. You’re welcome to your world view and your criticism of me. But your criticism is based on your world view, not on anything I wrote.

    What I wrote was an offer to help curmudgeons interested in regaining some optimism and increasing their value in a changing business. That offer stands, and I’ll turn my attention now to the journalists who actually understood what I wrote and took me up on the offer.