The Minnesota Newspaper Guild sent this memo to employees of the MediaNews Group-owned St. Paul Pioneer Press:
December 17, 2013
As most of you have no doubt heard, Pioneer Press managers yesterday announced buyouts for employees in the newsroom and in Advertising. The buyout provision is simple – those who accept the buyouts will receive their severance entitlement, per Section 24 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The severance formula is one week’s pay for each 26 weeks of continuous employment or major fraction thereof, up to a maximum of 38 weeks. If interested in the buyout, please contact your supervisor.
A note on unemployment benefits – employees who take a buyout can apply for unemployment benefits. The Pioneer Press has agreed not to oppose unemployment claims for those who accept buyouts, but the ultimate decision remains with the state of Minnesota about whether an employee is entitled to unemployment benefits.
“There were about 15 people involved in crafting the immersive online experience at wsj.com/lobotomyfiles,” Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Phillips writes on Reddit. “For once in my career I really prefer to read the stories online, rather than on newsprint under my breakfast cereal.”
Q:What is the most shocking fact you uncovered while working on this series?
Phillips: It was probably the casual experiment done an Oregon VA hospital, where they took four mentally ill vets and gave them fake lobotomies to see if there was a placebo effect. There wasn’t. So they the doctor went back and gave them real lobotomies.
From: Baker, Gerard
Sent: Friday, December 13, 2013 12:03 PM
To: WSJ All News Staff
Subject: The Lobotomy Files
Throughout his distinguished reporting career, Michael M. Phillips has chronicled with uncommon sensitivity the triumphs and trials of America’s servicemen and women – both on the battlefield and back at home. This week we have been privileged to publish his finest work yet.
The Lobotomy Files is an extraordinary achievement, a moving account of the traumas suffered by World War II veterans from a misguided attempt to alleviate their stress through catastrophic brain surgery./CONTINUESRead More
The MediaNews Group and 21st Century Media merger brings together the two companies jointly managed by Digital First Media.
Chief executive John Paton writes on his blog that “the soon-to-be-merged media company (we expect the deal to close in the next 30 days) will this year make more EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortizationthan the combined companies did four years ago but it has been one very bumpy road. Very bumpy.”
Patch co-founder Warren Webster has been one of the company’s most optimistic cheerleaders. He predicted in mid-2012 that the AOL property would be profitable by the end of 2013. The Patch hyperlocal concept, he said, is “not only sustainable, but a really workable model.”
He again was upbeat about Patch during a chat with Jeff Bercovici in January of this year. “We’ve grown up as a company enormously,” he told the Forbes media writer.
Webster, I noticed, has been strangely silent about recent Patch developments. Now I know why: he quietly stepped down as president last month.
Webster’s LinkedIn profile says he’s now a Patch advisory board member. He hasn’t responded to my request for comment, and I’m also waiting for Patch PR to get back to me.
Update — A former Patch editor writes: “Haven’t heard from him for at least a year, and was nowhere to be found on the now-famous August conference call … he basically just vanished completely.”
* Reporters rank just above lawyers in Gallup’s Honesty Ratings. (gallup.com)
* A downer of a documentary about Philadelphia’s dailies debuts on Wednesday. (thedailybeast.com) | Watch it here.
* Lillian Ross, 95, annotates her 1950 New Yorker piece on Ernest Hemingway. (niemanstoryboard.org)
* Grammy winner John Legend on David Brooks’ “The Thought Leader” column: “Why was this in a major paper? This was for an audience of about 500.” (capitalnewyork.com) | (nymag.com)
* Times-Picayune is sued by eight former employees who claim age discrimination and a no-layoff pledge violation. (clarionledger.com)
* A Rhode Island judge makes a one-time exception and lets reporters tweet a high-profile sentencing from the courtroom. (providencejournal.com)
* The editor of the Chicago Sun-Times’ Splash section likes to brag – on TV! – about the free things she gets. (“They had gifts for me,” Susanna Negovan announced, “including this vase — a crystal vase — and a Tiffany book.”) (robertfeder.com)
* Twitter rolling out an edit-your-tweet feature? It’s “not actively exploring” it, CNET is told. (cnet.com)
* Conservative Chamber of Commerce blogger takes down post making fun of Latino mourning rituals after getting a media inquiry. (voiceofoc.org)
* Suggestion for TV news people: Stop saying “white stuff”! (“Is there some law against saying ‘snow’ twice?”) (rtdna.org)
* Once again, Conan O’Brien catches news anchors across the country reading from the same script. (teamcoco.com)
* What makes a great magazine editor, according to Jack Limpert. (jacklimpert.com)
* “It was quite a two days for The Boston Globe,” writes press critic Dan Kennedy. (dankennedy.net)
* A newspaper analyst says California publisher Aaron Kushner has two things going for him: enthusiasm and deep pockets. (How deep, though?) (usatoday.com) | Kushner does a public radio show. (kcrw.com)
* Have dreams of running a weekly? There’s a profitable one for sale in Alabama. Asking price: $365,000, which includes the building. (journalismjobs.com)
* FYI: BuzzFeed’s looking for a business of education reporter to cover “how education will be reshaped as corporations race to own the classroom.” (jobscore.com)
* Philadelphia Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan’s zero-star reviews through the years. (phillymag.com)
* “The worst blogger in Philly is at it again.” (crossingbroad.com)