There is an aspect of The Star Layoff Story that has yet to be examined. It’s far to simple to cry crocodile tears for the folks who were let go. In fact, I’m a bit more concerned with who made the cut.
One layoff after the next there will be clueless folks and pouting Star employees who will still tout the company’s business acumen. I imagine that they’ll keep doing this until the company is eventually sold off again and all but a skeleton crew remain.
Think about this: Obviously, the days of newsprint published on Dead Trees are rapidly coming to an end. Someday sooner than we all think the Star will be just another Web page and their competitive advantage will completely disappear. Every day the declining circulation and demographic that indicate folks don’t read the paper anymore puts them even further behind the broadcast outlets.
Still, media analysis on a grand scale is far above the pay grade of Star newsies grinding away every day. And these last remaining personalities at the so-called “paper of record” are the folks who really interest me.
Let’s make a list. I’ve been thinking about a couple of Star reporters who have obviously outstayed their usefulness and the fact that they remain employed really speaks to the kind of business acumen that’s presiding over the collapse of the newspaper publishing industry. Or maybe I’m being too unfair, Einstein couldn’t have saved the horse and carriage industry after the advent of the automobile.
Nevertheless, let’s think deeply about these newsies who have survived so much layoff carnage:
1. Aaron Barnhart – C’mon, I’ve yet to see one thing penned by this guy that wasn’t more interesting and broadcast earlier on Entertainment Tonight. I don’t begrudge the dude a paycheck, I just can’t believe that Star couldn’t save some productive people by replacing a guy who serves up content that could more easily (and inexpensively) come from the wire. Also, the dude’s colleagues don’t really seem to like him if all the encouraging e-mails I get are any indication.