I promise, I am not a crazy lunatic who hates the Deseret Virtual News.---
Outside City Weekly offices, interesting characters abound. There's the Col. Sanders look-alike who spends hours watching CNBC on the stock broker's TV. There's a '70s-rock dude talking about how the man is screwing him and the latest reunion tour that has him excited. There's an old man arguing, loudly and obscenely, with himself. There's usually somebody dry humping somebody else or something else. And today, I heard a woman complaining about her boyfriend's peculiar fetish, which combines pooping and sex.
Here's my concern: I fear that my constant ranting and raving will put me on that street, standing outside Sam Weller's and babbling about "Deseret News this" and "Clark Gilbert that." Even worse, I fear that my lunacy is spreading, as evidenced by the posts this week from my cohorts, Jesse Fruhwirth, Eric S. Peterson and Brandon Burt. So, I've vowed to stay off the Deseret News beat for a few days (except for this, in yesterday's update).
Then, Gilbert and new "editor" Rick Hall had to go on KUER's RadioWest. Chicken shits that they are, they pre-recorded, avoiding those pesky callers. The interview is kind of like an argument with a girlfriend at the end of a relationship, when "you forgot to flush" becomes a reason to provide a litany of every offense during the relationship. It sounds innocent, at first, a nice little ditty about how they are reinventing journalism. But Fabrizio, whose butter toffee voice never gets less sweet, is obviously irritated. He keeps using the word "spin" and going back to the 85 layoffs and the editorial direction. They keep redirecting the conversation. And so forth.
As I've said before, the D-News executives are nothing if not consistent in their incompetence and arrogance. Oh, and Mr. Gilbert: You seem to think that your critics are trying to maintain the foolish principle of "objectivity." I have never even given that illusion. I'm honest, I'm fair, and I'm accurate. But if you want to know my biases, my agenda, I'm very clear. Also, Peg McEntee is a columnist, and while you seem to believe they should be "objective," she does not even have to try and have that pretense.
The interview did raise some interesting points about the business strategy, which is a whole different topic. But as for the layoffs, they maintained that the layoffs will not impact their product. They are flat-out wrong. How do I know? I've got the numbers. Here's the overall breakdown:
Full-time reporters fired: 57
Part-time reporters fired: 28
Full-time equivalents: 71
Those are total numbers. Gilbert asserts that most of the people fired were "production," not those actually producing content. Well, of those who I would say have a direct input on content (editors are debatable, so adjust if you disagree), 66 of the 85 layoffs came from those areas. (For the record, as far as I can tell these are titles across departments. So, for instance, reporters also includes features writers and sports reporters. The newsroom, when I left in 2008, had about 35 reporters, and 15 of those were laid-off, as far as I can tell). Here's the breakdown:
Editors: 13 out of 41
Reporters: 39 out of 75
Scoreboard (Prep Sports): 6 out of 6
That leaves this for the other departments:
Artists: 3 out of 6
Comment moderators: 2 out of 2
Computer Tech: 1 out of 3
Page designers: 5 out of 9
Marketing: 2 out of 4
The logical question: Where did I get these numbers? From employees who were laid-off. The breakdowns were in their severance packets, and also included ages (but no names).
During the interview, Hall and Gilbert did not have specific numbers. They also weren't positive that there was a strict non-disclosure agreement for all of those laid-off. Maybe, just maybe, they should have been laid-off. Then they might be able to actually answer some damn questions.
The Six Pack on the Dashboard update is published every weekday afternoon. Usually, it's a rundown of the six things that most interested me. Today, it's one thing, and thus, the Bomber on the Dashboard. I also enjoy burying the meat deep in the the shepherd's pie, as I did with this post. Deal with it.