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Daily Archives: August 16, 2013

A SATURDAY MORNING EMAIL: “After the initial shock of the layoffs wore off and the day went on, many Patch employees on the editorial side of the company have grave concerns about the company that run deeper than ever before.
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“Those people who were laid off were identified on a purely random basis (purportedly by an outside consulting firm) with no weight given to performance or evaluations. Regional editors were never consulted before the process began. This has left many Patch regions without its strongest editors – and with the weaker editors (many of whom have significant issues with mastering technology and the platform as a whole) left to run the local sites.

“Furthermore, some regions lost staff members without any sites having been shut down.

“The intent of the layoff was to make the company leaner, allowing the editorial team to focus its effort on strong sites and to empower editors to cover news and produce rich content for the remaining sites. Instead, the product looks as if it will be watered down and devalued in certain geographical areas.

“Regional editors are now scrambling behind the scenes to reverse some of the damage caused by the haphazardly-executed layoff.”

* Patcher “should not be ‘terminated’ but rather should be retained for double what you were paying her” (vienna.patch.com)
* Read stories about Patch layoffs from Boston, Hartford, New Jersey, and Milwaukee. (Send me more local reports, please.)
………

Friday’s report
AOL chief exec Tim Armstrong said in a 9-minute conference call this morning that 40% of the Patch workforce will lose their jobs today. (That’s about 480 people.) No questions were taken during the call.

SMALLPATCHHe said 60% of the Patch sites will continue, 20% of them will partner with other outlets, and 20% will be consolidated or completely closed.

A tipster emails: “Regarding the call, the most telling thing was the song ‘Stormy Weather’ playing before the call got going.”

* All Patch sites in Washington state are folding (geekwire.com)

A tipster emails:

It seems HQ has organized employees into three groups:
– people staying on
– people getting laid off with two months severance
– people staying until Oct. 15. severance status unclear.

Report: All Patch sales people in Iowa, Missouri and Minnesota are out. (@foleymo)

* Enfield Patch editor: “I need to tell all of my faithful readers…” (facebook.com)
* More Patch editor farewells from…. James Kleimann (Ridgewood-Glennrock), Dirk Langeveld (New London) and Mark Maley (Milwaukee).

* Send me a link to your farewell.

A PATCHER EMAILS: “I was rooting to get laid off today but didn’t. I had colleagues get laid off effective Oct. 15; the idea of two months of lame-duck status is brutal, though I envy them knowing how long the tunnel is.”

* Earlier: Listen to Armstrong fire Patch’s creative director during a conference call (jimromenesko.com)

A tipster reports: “The Plain Dealer is being kicked out of The Plain Dealer building. Staffers were told today the news operations will move out in as soon as 8 weeks. The first floor of the block-long building will be remodeled so that Advance’s brand new, non-union online news operation can move in. The online company has about 50 employees. The PD news operation consists of 120 journalists — 36 dedicated to print production who were just moved to the 4th floor of PD headquarters and the remaining 82 on the 1st floor. (There are also 2 in Washington.)”
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* Sarah Kelley (at left), the editor of Louisville Eccentric Observer, decides to resign rather than lay off a reporter. “Several weeks ago I was presented with the need to cut an editorial staff position. After thinking about it for several days I realized that’s not something I want to do. So I volunteered to be the person who left.” (wfpl.org)
* A Time journalist writes from Cairo: “I felt a dull object hit my back. It was a brake disk from a car. …I kept running.” (world.time.com)
* Why shouldn’t food critics review restaurants when they first open? “If you’re not ready to let critics form impressions about your restaurant, then maybe you’re not ready to charge full price.” (slate.com)
* Former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jack Ryan confirmed in a phone conversation this afternoon that he bought the Malibu Surfside News earlier this week. Ryan, who owns a place in Malibu, has 11 other newspapers — all in Illinois. He tells me his company, 22nd Century Media, plans to get the paper running again in October. The previous owner got sick in June and had to shut it down. || Ryan’s company is looking for an editor.
* 21st Century Fox buys a 5% stake of Vice Media for $70 million. (ft.com)
* In public radio circles, “there’s still a lot of paranoia” about taking underwriting money from marijuana dispensaries. (current.org)
* CJR asks: Does Gannett think its own newspapers matter? (cjr.org)
* A public records request is filed seeking information about a public records request. (etruth.com)
* National Press Photographers Association executive director Mindy Hutchinson is stepping down in October. (nppa.org)
* Thanks, PR Daily, for putting my Twitter feed and website on your 10 Journalism Resources list. (prdaily.com)

suck

* Six lesser known “Golden Ages of Media” (theawl.com)

Suck.com art from 1999. (Credit: Jay Bevenour)

Suck.com art from 1999. (Credit: Jay Bevenour)

From a many-years-ago Suck.com post: “The city’s highbrow journalists long abandoned the banter of the Benchleys, Parkers, Thurbers, and Whites and the ideological feuds of the Hellmans, McCarthys, Wilsons, and Macdonalds. Now there are the one-note choirboy orations of Brill’s Content and the celebrity-addled chintz of Talk. Then, Spy; now, the New York Press. Then, Dawn Powell; today, Amy Sohn. Even didactic bon vivant Tom Wolfe managed to wax vaguely apocalyptic about the city’s social divisions as recently as the late 1980s; now Kurt Andersen frets over the thwarted birthright of mediagenic fame.”

“I decided I wanted to have one of the most organized good-byes in recorded history and I think I will be successful.” — Martin Manley, 1953-2013

Sports journalist Martin Manley, who left the Kansas City Star in early 2012, killed himself Thursday on his 60th birthday in front of a police station. He left a lengthy explanation on a website. An excerpt:

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When I considered the options of living to be old and all the negatives associated with that alternative, I knew there was no way on earth I was going to allow myself to deal with such an intolerable situation. In order to guarantee that I avoided it, I also knew that I had to commit the act before I was incapacitated and unable to carry it out.

The thought of being in a nursing home, physically or mentally disabled, was the single scariest thing I had ever thought about – at least on this earth.

He writes of his Kansas City Star tenure:

My job was in dealing with sports statistics. Having written three books on sports stats and numerous articles, it was a natural fit for what I figured would be the last 10 years of my life. I didn’t quite make it. I left the Star after seven years and left the world after nine. But… close enough.

Manley adds that he loved the job “for all but the final six months … when I felt my personal situation was becoming untenable.”

It never ceased to amaze me how every single day at The Star we would come into work late in the afternoon with nothing, and by midnight we would have this multi-colored many-paged mini-magazine. A few hours later, everyone in Kansas City that wanted it would have it at their door. Lots of stories, data, information – all of it checked and double-checked and as timely as our deadlines would allow.

Martin Manley

Martin Manley

This is the August 15, 2013, entry on his blog, Sports in Review: “This is my final post on Sports In Review and the reason is pretty major. Before I get into that, I want to say how much I appreciated being able to follow my passion regarding statistics – more specifically, sports statistics – for so many years. It’s been a blast and I’ve had a great opportunity to make a contribution to the many areas that make up this subject.”

THEBLEMISH.COM: “It’s no doubt an interesting read but one part of the website is starting to overshadow the rest. The location of his buried treasure. That’s right. Martin Manley left the GPS coordinates to his wealth.”

* Martin Manley: My Life and Death (martinmanleylifeanddeath.com)
* Read the Kansas City Star’s story on its former employee’s suicide (kansascity.com)
* Earlier: Stats freaks rejoice – Martin Manley is back (bottomlinecom.com)
* @MartinManleyUFR


* Orange County Register’s deal with the city of Anaheim is called “mind-boggling” by one media critic. (voiceofoc.org)
* Jack Shafer: Serious news never made money, and it’s unlikely to. (reuters.com)
* The editor of The Progressive magazine is arrested while covering a Solidarity Sing Along at Wisconsin’s Capitol. (thedailypage.com)
coffee* Coffee’s good for you … coffee’s bad for you … make up your mind! (app.com)
* Al Jazeera America will have only six minutes of ads per hour. (adweek.com)
* “I used to be an over-subscriber to magazines,” says “Zealot” author Reza Aslan. (theatlanticwire.com)
* Yes, Gannett’s USA Today did note – in the fourth graf – that Warren Buffett has dumped his Gannett shares. (usatoday.com)
* Let us read that forbidden NSA interview, Washington Post! (salon.com)
* Former Sun-Times and Time Out Chicago media columnist Robert Feder partners with the Chicago Tribune. (chicagotribune.com)
* Former Sun-Times owner Conrad Black is ordered to pay $4.1 million to Chicago Newspaper Liquidation Corp. (reuters via chicagotribune.com) | Conrad Black on Sam Zell and Jeff Bezos. (foxbusiness.com)
* Publishing veteran Maer Roshan joins the board of Assignmint.com. (observer.com)
* Gawker’s redesign makes sure ads are seen. (digiday.com)
* E Ink sales plunge in the second quarter; e-reader sales are flat. (mobileread.com)
* FYI: It’s “International Apostrophe Day.” (@mental_floss) | (huffingtonpost.co.uk)