Tony: Thinking About Leftover Star Reporters After the Latest Layoffs

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.

2. Jene
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7 Responses to Tony: Thinking About Leftover Star Reporters After the Latest Layoffs

  1. Anonymous says:

    as always, tony conveniently forgets to mention that readership of most metro newspapers, including the star, is at or near all time highs. evidently the rest of the world doesn’t agree with his view that senior management has kept the wrong people. but if he reported accurately, that would detract from his venomous attacks on writers, wouldn’t it?

    the difference between now and 20 years ago has a lot less to do with content and a lot more to do with the lessening of barriers to entry. with more competition distributing more news and ads at far lower costs than in the past, you cannot charge the same prices that you could before.

    it isn’t readership that is the problem, it is the inability to generate the same revenue per reader that was normal in the ’90’s that is killing newspapers.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The joy most of us find in the decay of the Star comes from knowing that the failure is a direct result of the idiots running the place and the myopic minions that still work there. It’s a complete lesson in Darwinism and Capitalism at the same time.

    The Star can be saved. The fact that HQ won’t put the changes in place to facilitate the rescue raises lots of questions.

    Is idealogy really more important than profit?

  3. Anonymous says:

    you guys should just rename this website to “Daily Rants About the Star’s Collapse”.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Laughing out loud at Botello
    “Word morale at the Star is incredibly low…”

    Folks, nobody at The Star talks to Tony Botello. They laugh at him yes but there is not anyone who would give him the time of day. And since he doesn’t know how online or commercial printing are doing he couldn’t have a full picture of what aces The Star really has up its sleeve.

    He does wish, however, that even with an unpaid week, he could hope to earn what Mary Sanchez or Mike Hendricks are making in a year. And that’s the really galling part: who’s backing Tony Botello?


    Watching you self-destruct in anger, frustration and pity over the things you can’t have is utterly rewarding.

    All this, and The Star lives on.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Whoa! I didn’t get the memo. When did we start holding Tony to a higher standard? He’s still in the color by number category last time I checked.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “…he doesn

  7. Anonymous says:

    I do have some connectionsa at the Star, and while bits of what everyone has mentioned are true, one important point has been overlooked: There simply aren’t enough bodies (or, more precisely, brains) left at 18th & Grand to put out as effective a product as previously. Everybody I know is quite literally doing the work of two or three people, compared with better times. As far as readership goes, yes, the print circulation and readership is down. But when combined with online readership it is higher than ever. Hasten to add :Yes, BUT, internet doesn’t generate the kind of revenue necessary to sustain a staff of quality newspaper men and women. For as long as I can remember everybody has had an opinion and griped about the Star. Nothing new. A newspaper doesn’t operate in a vacuum. It must of necessity reflect the attitudes, mores, social, cultural and financial interests of the surrounding community and the larger national and international environment. In a metro area of 2 million+, with increasingly divided readers it becomes more and more difficult to appease and appeal to everyone. Wherein lies the central core of whatever the truth is today? It is diffucult to judge, no matter what some self-described pundit on Fox Noise or Keith Oberman tries to tell you. No one can define a “centrist” these days. Ask someone on the right, someone on the left and you basically get no answer. So how is a theoritically neutral journalistic publication of integrity going to hit that nebulous mark? What used to be called balanced reporting is now viewed by people on the right mostly, as reporting that tells both sides of an issue. But there is just as much arrogance by the far left. Obama may not be reelected because, and hate to burst anyone’s notiions set in concrete here, he has at times acted like a right-winger (“Let’s drill some more offshore”) and sometimes acted like a left-winger (“Let’s make it easier for more of our population to get health care.”) We are the most divided since the Vietnam war days and the news media reflects that. ]
    Will the Star be around in 2, 5, 10 years? In some form, yes. Print version, not so sure. I do know that lots and lots of talented and creative, dedicated people have lost their jobs…

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