Hat Tip: The Gunpowder Chronicle
November 15th, 2008 - My thoughts, for what they are worth…
Lately the topic of another round of layoffs and adjustments in the business of Tribune and the Baltimore Sun has been the subject of some discussions among several of us who work for Tribune. (See my media disclosure here. I work for Tribune.)
I have also been a critic of the Baltimore Sun’s political coverage in the past and I agree that the widespread perception of bias on the part of the Baltimore Sun has been detrimental to the overall health of the paper.
Moreover I continue to believe that liberal media bias plagues too much of the traditional mainstream media.
However, when I read criticism that involves hyperbolic name-calling, the critic loses the argument with me. (And yes, I am aware of past columns and blog posts in which I have engaged in some name calling… I guess I am a recovering name caller…)
Nevertheless, the editorial board of the Baltimore Sun continues to promote the paper in an unfavorable light. The fact that I disagree with much of the editorial slant does not concern me. What concerns me is that all too often the position of the board is inconsistent, displays situational principles, and is personality driven.
Perhaps this is simply the nature of the beast, but I would much rather see objective consistent community-benefit-driven analysis and commentary, instead of a newspaper editorial board parroting the talking points and spin of a particular individual, political party, or ideology.
To say it clearly, anything Illinois Sen. Barack Obama or Maryland Governor O’Malley = GOOD. Anything conservative, Arizona Sen. John McCain, or former Governor Robert l. Ehrlich = BAD.
If you need a more recent example, take a look at slots: Slots under Governor Ehrlich = BAD. Slots under Governor O’Malley = GOOD. What changed…?
However, the local community newspaper arm of Tribune – The Baltimore Sun, the Patuxent Publishing Company, (Explore Baltimore Co., Explore Carroll Co. - the paper for which I write, and Explore Howard Co.,) continues to deliver quality news and reporting. Of course, part of the reason for that is that those of us on the local community level have a higher level of accountability in that we can often be found at the same pizza parlor and grocery store check out line with the very folks we cover.
Nonetheless, the current economic times are a strain on all businesses, including newspapers, the metros, and the community newspapers alike.
In spite of the bewildering approach of the Baltimore Sun’s editorial board, most all the reporters are quite professional, talented, and objective in their reporting.
In the end they all have families and unless a particular individual displays a personal animus or maliciousness; critics of the paper may benefit from a more constructive engagement with the reporters. And I hate to see anyone lose his or her job – especially these days.
And especially a writer: What do you call a writer without a significant other? Homeless.
There is a growing perception that the management of the Baltimore Sun is trying hard to adjust to the times – with more accessibility and less of the condescending arrogance that has manifested in the corporate personality of the paper in the past.
As an aside; whether I agree or disagree with the columnists, I like the sharp writing of most of the columnists (and most of the reporters) – and I like the paper’s recent foray into blogs. And I like the improvements in the web site.
The debate about blogger journalists versus traditional print media journalists has been getting increasingly boring – see 20070112 Some wisdom about the silliest debate in journalism. There are good and bad in both camps. If you don’t like a particular writer, don’t read them.
I read writers – not headlines - and not papers...
Attempting to promote blogs and new media by carelessly denigrating traditional print media is a disservice to all journalists and journalism and brings all of us down.
Considering the challenges at the local level, in Maryland and the nation; the press has, if anything, an increased responsibility and there is an important role for the Baltimore Sun to play.
We need greater cooperation, collaboration – and we need all hands on deck.
Union says more job cuts coming at the Baltimore Sun
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Baltimore Business Journal - by Julekha Dash Staff
A Baltimore Sun union said Thursday it expects another round of job cuts at the newspaper, and officials are preparing to fight any future layoffs.
The Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild said it expects more job cuts within days. Angie Kuhl, a unit chair with the union, said she does not know how many job cuts are planned. But union officials don’t expect buyouts to be offered, as they have been in the past, and the cuts will impact the newsroom.
Renee Mutchnik, a Baltimore Sun spokeswoman, said Sun management has no comment.
The Sun eliminated 100 positions at the paper in August. It also recently eliminated its standalone Maryland and Business sections as part of an overall redesign.
Tribune Co., the Sun’s parent, posted a $124 million third quarter loss this month.
The newspaper, Maryland’s largest daily publication, saw its average Sunday circulation number fall 3.9 percent to 350,640 during the period.
Read the entire article here: Union says more job cuts coming at the Baltimore Sun
Tribune Co. posts $124M loss
20081113 Some thoughts on Union says more job cuts coming at the Baltimore Sun