December 16, 2009

Buyout offers popping up at Newhouse newspapers in Alabama

Media of Birmingham and Lagnaippe both report that more employees at the Newhouse news organizations in Alabama are weighing buyout offers. The offers to non-union employees are capped at six months for those at the Mobile Press-Registrer, Huntsville Times and Birmingham News.

Lagnaippe  has details about the Mobile Press-Registrer; Media of Birmingham has more details about the Birmingham News and a mention about the Huntsville Times.

And yes, Victor Hanson III retired as publisher of the Birmingham News. He had announced his leaving in late September. An article and a Tom Scarritt column marked his leaving Dec. 1. His retirement means that for the first time in nearly a century a Hanson does not lead the newspaper.

Hanson, who plans to head back to college, told The Birmingham News he is proud of having led the Birmingham News Co.'s expansion into direct mail, specialty publishing and advertising services to broaden its revenue stream.
  "We intentionally developed the talent and focused on the need our clients had to reach the market in ways beyond the printed product," Hanson told the News.
No update on what's happening with the lawsuit by the ex-publisher of The Press-Registrar.. But  Lagnaippe questions the accuracy in the reporting of Howard Bronson's exit from the news organization.
"... did the paper intentionally print a lie when it told readers Bronson had retired?"In
In the lawsuit, Bronson claims he was forced out after 18 years and despite what he believed was a lifetime job guarantee.

Although  the Lagnaippe writer admits that he does not know what the reporters, and perhaps even the editors, were told about Bronson's departure, he suggests that the news organization needs to tell the truth about its affairs to maintain the public's trust.
.".. it seems if Bronson was fired, someone in the corporate chain determined that a lie should be printed, which destroys the paper’s credibility.

"Either that or Bronson did retire and then forgot and decided to sue, which would make him insane or crazy, or both. (From the Department of Redundancy Department.)

"If a newspaper lies in print about its internal business, to my way of thinking that’s no different than lying about any other story. The credibility’s in the crapper, and that’s really what matters in the news biz.
Mistakes are one thing, but fabrication is another. I hope if it did happen, someone at the P-R will have the cajones to own up to it."

Wow.  No mincing of the words in that column. By the way, as long as you're cruising that site check out the words on the P-R's circulation report.

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