July 31, 2009

Final Sun Newspapers out in Ohio; staff down to 34

Advance Publications will cut staff to 34 and eliminate 11 of 22 weekly Sun Newspapers in northern Ohio as a previously announced consolidation .that includes shifting some work to its Cleveland Plain Dealer continues.

The last edition of 11 newspapers in the weekly chain appeared on newsstands for the last time July 30. Ideastream, facing its own layoffs, reported readers in Euclid, Bedford, Maple Heights/Garfield, Twinsburg, and Nordonia Heights will no longer get any Sun newspaper.

NewsNet5 reported the remaining newspapers will expand their coverage boundaries to include the other six communities losing their newspapers.

The Cleveland Scene reported "Sun CEO Keith Mathis filed paperwork with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services projecting the elimination of 115 jobs, including 30 reporters, 26 sales reps, three photographers, and dozens of support staff and skill positions."

The Cleveland Plain Dealer will take over accounting, payroll and retail duties and deliver Sun papers to homes, the Scene reported.

Online, the newspapers published a few farewells, including:
"Journalism has come a long way since I first picked up a reporter's notebook. I was the first woman editor of an Air Force newspaper. Right now, I'm looking at a newsroom where the executive editor is a woman, three women are line editors, my assistant editor is a woman and every reporter on my staff, except for the sports writer, is a woman."

She was one of 11 editors; the reorganization calls for four editors and four assistant editors, according to the Cleveland Scene.
  • The Reward was worth the risk for Jarrod Zickefoose, who is moving to a new assignment and ends seven years of column writing that began reluctantly.
  • Mary Jane Skala says Thanks for 20 years of memories. She'll continue writing a column, but first "I'm going to throw my sleeping bag in my car and head West. As I gaze at the stars and raft a river or two, I'll reflect on 20 years of editing these papers, a job I've loved. "
  • Remarkable Ronda (Armstrong) tells us in This chapter is ending, but another beginning. that she will "move forward with the mission of my organization, the Morning Glory Literary Society -- taking the transformational power of writing into prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, drug treatment centers -- any and everywhere people are suffering in order to help them find peace, healing and balance."
The first ever front page of Garfield-Maple Heights Sun is published.
Sun Newspapers will publish under 11 mastheads when the reorganization plan is complete, according to a post on cleveland.com

The Cleveland Scene also reported that enough employees accepted a severance package so no layoffs were necessary.

You can learn more in a post I wrote: Inside Out (mcwflint): 'Nifty content' not enough so Advance Publications closing weekly newspapers in Ohio

Fascination with journalists, jobs leads to suggested reading

Stroll over to Free From Editors if you want to read about the newspaper days when
"... you would get drunk and screw up and get fired, but it wasn't a big deal because you would go to another newspaper."
Jim of L-Town starts with a tale from his dad about reporter John Clark and gangster Mickey Cohen in "a story from the "Front Page" " and embellishes with some findings from a Google search.

If you want to know more about journalists of today, Charles Apple continues his tradition of wishing folks in the field a happy birthday with biography posts.

Or perhaps you're more interested in a job in journalism. Jim of L-Town had a request for journalism job resources on a day when emailing, not commenting or posting, was in the realm of my possibility. I sent him my hot list - hey, a girl can dream - and Jim pulled them together in a post.

Tonight, I sent him a link to another - Scooping the News, which also posts five newspaper jobs a week.

Speaking of scoops, make sure you know where you are online before you interview for a job. It's an uncomfortable feeling when a prospective employer is the first to tell you about your 3,000 posts on a Staten Island web site

July 28, 2009

Finding advice on surviving the layoff

Doom and gloom at Conde Nast properties drew in some advice to those who might get laid off.

Or read about the SARA model in a post which also describes how poorly one laid-off employee handled the news.

The model, by the way is:
"Surprise, Anger, Rejection before finally Accepting the bad news."
Once you get to the last step, head over to another post where there's more advice for those laid off and those staying.. Among those quoted is tech journalist Robert Scoble, who reminds those of us without jobs that:
"Getting a job is now your profession."

Consultant: A next generation in Ann Arbor

Project consultant Jeff Jarvis posts about the possibilities of annarbor.com

Commenters weigh in, asking might if this be an Advance plan and complaining of a wasted opportunity with this launch.

Ouch! That was one mean set of words

Who says you need sticks or stones to hurt?

"So you're the one who took Frank's place" draws the ire of a new reporter at a Michigan newspaper.

"How are you liking your retirement?
still hurts Hal Tarleton nine months after a layoff that followed 29 years of employment at the same newspaper.

A simple "So you’re the new Frank” would work better for Holly Setter, now working at the Ionia Sentinel-Standard, not "So you're the one who took Frank's place."'
"Perhaps I’m being touchy, but that seems to imply that he left it unwillingly, that I was cheaper labor that the paper hired to cut costs. Which isn’t remotely true — Frank opted to leave for a number of reasons (so I’ve been told, from Frank himself among others) but in large part because he wanted to explore another career and life in Texas."
Holly, who got the job one day before graduation, is one of two full-time reporters at the daily. She did not steal the job.

Time to move on

Frank Konkel says he started at the small daily in the Gatehouse Media Group in September 2007, but knew it was time to leave in May 2009. His original plan was to use the job as a stepping stone and then move on to for a better wage. He had expected to stay longer.
"I was initially grateful for the opportunity, even if I was making less than $10/hour."
He left determined to figure out if he wanted to continue a career in journalism in another location or pursue other interests, including fitness training, government work and freelance writing. Nothing's settled yet and the 2006 Michigan State University graduate is still in Michigan.
"I do miss the people and relationships I made along the way. Those things are, in my opinion, the best aspects of being a journalist."

Told to move on

Hal Tarleton also found much to like about journalism, did he not retire and he's back in the crowded job market - just not in journalism. these days. He wrote:
"My wife brought me back to reality: It's bad enough that I have to start over; it would be even worse if both of us had to start over."

He wrote back in March that the odds of finding something are poor. and not much has changed.

He is getting tired of community members thinking he had something to do with his former newspaper's new look and news emphasis.
"Everyone I've talked to has expressed disgust or exasperation with the redesign. And, unfortunately, I still run into people who think I'm still working there. For them, let me make it clear: I had nothing to do with it!"
The Erstwhile Editor recognizes that perhaps some do so because the announcement of his leaving was " one sentence at the end of a long and rambling "editor's note" without a headline or any real point."
"I have repeatedly had to tell people that, no, I have not retired; I did not want to leave gainful employment. I'm convinced that the newspaper encouraged the misconception that I had retired early. ... I've been gratified by the many people, some of them strangers, who have expressed their disappointment and even anger at my departure from the newspaper. But what's done is done. I'm moving on."
He's moving on in the job search, not moving into retirement.

Wikipedia for Journalists and other advice coming at Digital Journalism Camp

If I were closer, I'd be over at Steven Walling’s presentation of “Wikipedia for journalists” on August 1. The video is a preview of one of the programs at the Digital Journalism Camp in Oregon.

What's a Digital Journalism Camp?

A post on the camp site says:
"It’s where traditional print and broadcast journalism, blogging and web-based innovation meet. This is not some far-off future for the industry. It’s happening right now, all around us. And reporters, bloggers, editors, and broadcasters have a lot they can learn from each other."
There's even a why posted:
"I want us to shut up about about the death of newspapers and start talking about how we, as journalists, are innovating right now — what’s working, what’s not, and how we can get better at what we do."
Abraham Hyatt left a comment on my original post today to let me know that The Oregonian is only providing space, not hosting, the Digital Journalism Camp on August 1. By providing the space, though, the Advance Publications news organization let the organizers eliminate an admission fee.

July 27, 2009

How is it going at the Flint newspaper? Who is going and who is returning?

waving hand

The Flint Journal
Those affected by the changing of The Flint Journal from a daily newspaper to a three-times a week newspaper can talk by phone to some of the editors this week.

John Hiner, the executive editor of the Flint newspaper, announced the call-in on page one Sunday. (As of 2:01 a.m. Monday, it's not online so I can't link to it and my paper copy recycled.)

Taking the calls is one of the last things editor John Foren will do before leaving July 31. Also heading out after an employee-only cake reception Thursday is Adrienne Wells, most recently director of employee relations.

Why Foren stayed

Foren planned to leave May 31 but stayed when the woman who now has the top role in the newsroom found out May 12 she would be a mother. Ten days later, Marjory Raymer and her husband brought their son home.

She's been gradually returning to work, with her official full-time start Aug. 3. She'll answer calls Wednesday night with Hiner, Foren and others, including the Bay City-based features editor.

Raymer likes how the news is being covered.
"I must say it has been so rewarding to watch how the dedicated and talented crew in the newsroom has adapted to our new model. There is a real hunger in the newsroom to continue to find new and better ways to hone our craft on the Web."

Raymer ready to return

She's anxious to get back - it's the longest she's been away from a newsroom since college.
"This is an exciting time for us all. Reporters have been empowered like never before. And, we are all encouraged to be innovators -- question the way things always have been done and to try things differently. This feels like the new frontier in journalism and The Flint Journal is blazing the trail."
Foren praised Raymer, who he said "is not only a colleague but a friend. I'm not sure I would have basically canceled my summer plans for anyone else."

GM blog praised

Raymer praised Ron Fonger's beat blog on GM and said plans are to continue increasing the number of videos posted.
"There is also a renewed dedication to finding other content of interest to our readers. By aggregating content, our Web site will be the best and most complete source for news and information in Genesee County.

Along with our dedication to developing our Web presence, you will find the same hard news and investigative journalism that makes The Flint Journal great."
Foren, 48, was named The Journal's interim editor in December when Tony Dearing was tapped for an Advance Internet project (AnnAbor.com). Foren got the permanent job in January.

Advance changed Michigan newspapers

Then, this spring Advance Publications announcd changes that affected nearly every newspaper in the family-owned chain. In Michigan, besides pay cuts and pension changes, the changes included the July 24 shuttering of the Ann Arbor News, reducing three mid-Michigan newspapers to three tmes a week while changing their personnel and news structures and creating the AnnArbor.com.

Changes include one publisher and executive editor now over sees the Flint Journal, Saginaw News and Bay City Times. Each news organization also has a female Community Editor (Raymer's new title). The three newspapers, which also became morning newspapers on June 1, share some services and printing through what has become known as Booth MidMichigan. A joint weather package is offered to the Great Lakes Bay Region. A joint business package is labeled Mid-Michigan Business News.
"It was my decision to leave and, while it was a tough one, it feels like the right time to do it.," John said.

Foren ready for new pace

The married father of two teenagers says he looks forward to being around Lansing and his family more.
"My daughter has a year left before college; my son will be a high school sophomore in the fall and has football, basketball and baseball on the schedule. I really want to be around them as much as I can in the next few years. "
Nothing is lined up
"Given the hectic pace of the past few months, I'm also just looking forward to a break. I'm in a position to do that and for that I'm grateful. - Ultimately, I'm guessing I'll steer toward something political in Lansing; I like policy stuff but I know whatever I do will probably also involve writing in some form.

Foren says 'bye in print, online

Speaking of politics, it was his appearance recently as a moderator in the Flint mayoral debate that got some folks asking why he was still in Flint after announcing he'd be gone June 1.

He had a farewell column - Flint's spirit will see it through to its possibilities for the future - in Sunday's newspaper and online. Much of it focused on Sybyl Atwood, before he ended it with two pleas to the community:

"Keep up the good fight. It will yield results, maybe incrementally and in small doses, but progress will come.

And keep reading The Journal, both in print and online. It's part of Flint's fabric and, like the community, is full of spirit and possibilities."

Foren agreed to stay on through July to help with the transition, praising John Hiner and publisher Matt Sharp for being "very good to me" while the three worked on Flint Journal coverage "in our new journalist world."

Foren's career path

Foren was the newspaper's local news editor, overseeing the newsroom and Flint-area coverage, 1999-2009. He joined The Journal in 1985, reporting on some suburban communities before covering Flint government and politics. From 1990-1992, he covered Congress at the newspaper's Washington D.C. Bureau. He then spent three years based in Lansing, covering the Michigan Legislature and the 1994 gubernatorial election. He returned to Flint as a local editor in 1995.

Raymer's career path

Raymer was named Local News editor in January and promoted to the new position of Community Editor in April. She became the newspaper's business editor in January 2008.

Raymer began as a reporter at The Journal in 2000, covering the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. She also covered Flint City Hall, social services and environmental issues. She previously worked as a reporter and copy editor at the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Her husband worked as a copy editor for the Saginaw News before leaving the news business. The last news article on Raymer said her husband, Eric Wisniewski, is an analyst in the Michigan Department of Treasury.

Leaving or coming into a Michigan newsroom? Send me an email with contact information so we can all keep in touch. I've recently wrote about changes in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo and Muskegon and even Livingston County.

July 26, 2009

Final words on Ann Arbor News

I'm heading to Ann Arbor today to pick up a paper copy of the first AnnArbor.com print edition. But first, let me share a few more links about the closing of the Michigan newspaper.

Innovations in Newspapers says the Ann Arbor News was dead long before it closed. AnnArbor.com came out with "Local community saddened by closing of the Ann Arbor News." (Its earlier stories on the closing are in either land - all earlier blog entries disappeared.)

A Chicago Tribune columnist writes the "Requiem for the hometown newsaper," speaking with a former neighbor Geoff Larcom, who worked for The Ann Arbor News for 24 years.

The Ann Arbor News coverage of itself includes:
I earlier pulled together many links to the coverage in a Community says goodbye post, including videos of Ann Arbor staff members and the community.

It looks like mlive.com is pulling in a feed from AnnArbor.com to replace what the Ann Arbor News once did to cover the community.

But there are a few kinks to work out, so we know who is writing what.

AnnArbor.com also is linking to some features on mlive.com, at least temporarily. That linking includes an entertainment calendar.