Hearne: KC Star Layoffs, Furloughs & Excuses Unfold; the Hit List

As expected, the latest round of Kansas City Star layoffs and cutbacks unfolded today…

The known hit list: LaJean Keene in FYI, copy editor Deb Bauer, copy editor and Inkster Liz Garcia, copy editor (and hotdog connoisseur) Gary Marx on the copy desk, reporter Sarah Shepherd, neighborhood news editor Julie Adam, reporter Meredith Rodriguez, special sections artist

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42 Responses to Hearne: KC Star Layoffs, Furloughs & Excuses Unfold; the Hit List

  1. Anonymous says:

    jojo
    WOW…people getting laid off…kids without
    food….unemployed people….worrying about
    making car and house payments…ha ha ha…
    hey isnt it funny these people are losing
    their jobs …..no money for bills….maybe
    they’ll colllect unemployments….
    HEARNE….ARE YOU SERIOUS. YOU HAVE BEEN ACTING
    LIKE YOU’RE EXCITED TO SEE ALL THIS TRAGEDY.
    THESE ARE REAL PEOPLE…WITH FAMILIES AND KIDS…
    PUBLISHING THEIR NAMES FOR EVERYONE TO SEE…
    ITS BAD ENOUGH THAT MANY OF THESE PEOPLE MAY
    HAVE BEEN GREAT EMPLOYEES OF THE COMPANY….
    AND NOW THEY ARE LAID OFF.
    HAVE YOU NO DECENCY? THIS IS PATHETIC!
    YOU MAKE THIS SEEM LIKE ITS GOOD…IT’S NOT…
    THESE ARE REAL HUMANS WITH EMOTIONS….
    DISGUSTING!
    ____________
    HC: Calm down, jojo. Nobody doing any touchdown dancing here

  2. Anonymous says:

    Tony 4 Mayor
    does this mean you scooped that pantywaste landsberg or is he claiming to have got it first?

  3. Anonymous says:

    John Altevogt
    And still remaining Lewis Diuguid, Miriam Pepper, Barbara Shelly, Derek Donovan and Mike Fannin.

    The point of publishing the names is that the people going are workers and producers,and no it’s not good that they’re leaving, while those who are an embarrassment to the paper continue to retain their positions.

    Whoever is making the decisions up there is an idiot.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Earney
    Why don’t they let JENE

  5. Anonymous says:

    JAM
    When will the recession die? Does he know something?

  6. Anonymous says:

    bhjayhawk
    Please, for your sake, stop using this blog as your personal vendetta against the Star. It’s over — who cares who gets laid off there? Oh no, somebody on the copy desk, whatever that is.

    And as long as Lewis Diuguid is still drawing a paycheck, nobody can respect that organization.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Steve
    What we need is a good locally owned and run paper. Not one run from Sacramento California where as the recession deepens out there they say,
    “slash costs in Kansas City, all the veterans go first, the replacements, the newbies will start at bare minimum wages.”
    ___________________
    HC: That is kinda how the TV news stations have done it over the years. Because the Star was wildly popular and had a virtual news and advertising monopoly of sorts, it was able to avoid turning out the tribal elders. No mas.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Frances
    And who will pick up the slack on the copy editing? The errors are already slipping through.

  9. Anonymous says:

    vwriter
    Jojo – Hearne isn’t makiing light of the situation, just reporting facts. And as one whose name was on one of those lists at one time, I was glad when my name got out, that people knew The Star was axing good people, just as they are this time, and leaving in place people who haven’t pulled their weight for years. When I worked at The Star, every reporter on the desk where I worked had in excess of 200 bylines a year, yet there are people on staff now who might write one or two dozen stories a year. They know who they are and frankly, I don’t know how they look at themselves in the mirror, knowing that good, productive people are being sacrificed so the slackers such as themselves can come in day and day and do what, I have no idea…

    And for those who are pissed that Hearne seems to be using this as a personal vendetta, you know what, this blog is just like newspapers – read the headline and if you don’t care, move on. Why the fuck do you people post comments about something being irrelevant – if you don’t care and don’t want to read it, then here’s a hint, DON’T FUCKING READ IT!

    Also, I thought it interesting that Zman’s email tried to hang these layoffs on the recession. These layoffs started 2 1/2 years ago and have occurred virtually every quarter since. He makes no mention of the sesmic shift that’s occurring in the business that does not have anything to do with the recession.

    The recession will die, and so likely, will The Star…

  10. Anonymous says:

    vwriter
    Jojo – Hearne isn’t making light of the situation, just reporting facts. And as one whose name was on one of those lists at one time, I was glad when my name got out, that people knew The Star was axing good people, just as they are this time, and leaving in place people who haven’t pulled their weight for years. When I worked at The Star, every reporter on the desk where I worked had in excess of 200 bylines a year, yet there are people on staff now who might write one or two dozen stories a year. They know who they are and frankly, I don’t know how they look at themselves in the mirror, knowing that good, productive people are being sacrificed so the slackers such as themselves can come in day and day and do what, I have no idea…

    And for those who are pissed that Hearne seems to be using this as a personal vendetta, you know what, this blog is just like newspapers – read the headline and if you don’t care, move on. Why the fuck do you people post comments about something being irrelevant – if you don’t care and don’t want to read it, then here’s a hint, DON’T FUCKING READ IT!

    Also, I thought it interesting that Zman’s email tried to hang these layoffs on the recession. These layoffs started 2 1/2 years ago and have occurred virtually every quarter since. He makes no mention of the sesmic shift that’s occurring in the business that does not have anything to do with the recession.

    The recession will die, and so likely, will The Star…

  11. Anonymous says:

    vwriter
    Jojo – Hearne isn’t making light of the situation, just reporting facts (something that was sometimes lacking in his Star columns – just sayin’, Hearne). And as one whose name was on one of those lists at one time, I was glad when my name got out, that people knew The Star was axing good people, just as they are this time, and leaving in place people who haven’t pulled their weight for years. When I worked at The Star, every reporter on the desk where I worked had in excess of 200 bylines a year, yet there are people on staff now who might write one or two dozen stories a year. They know who they are and frankly, I don’t know how they look at themselves in the mirror, knowing that good, productive people are being sacrificed so the slackers such as themselves can come in day and day and do what, I have no idea…

    And for those who are pissed that Hearne seems to be using this as a personal vendetta, you know what, this blog is just like newspapers – read the headline and if you don’t care, move on. Why the fuck do you people post comments about something being irrelevant – if you don’t care and don’t want to read it, then here’s a hint, DON’T FUCKING READ IT!

    Also, I thought it interesting that Zman’s email tried to hang these layoffs on the recession. These layoffs started 2 1/2 years ago and have occurred virtually every quarter since. He makes no mention of the sesmic shift that’s occurring in the business that does not have anything to do with the recession.

    The recession will die, and so likely, will The Star…

  12. Anonymous says:

    vwriter
    VERY SORRY ABOUT THE TRIPLE POSTING…

  13. Anonymous says:

    jojo
    its obvious from vwriters commments why the
    star is dying. “If you don’t care and don’t
    want to read it….fuck you!”
    No wonder the paper dyinng with an attitude like
    that. What if a retailer said…”if you don’t
    like it…and don’t want it…fuck you”
    Thats the attitude that has helped to kill the
    star……you guys wrote nothing people wantd
    to read.
    And now hearne gloats at others misfortune.
    And you provide excuses.
    People losing their careers is not a joke or
    a event to be celebrated. While you were glad to
    leave how about those who werent.
    Heanre has written with glee about the stars
    demise. And that is outrageous….because the
    star is people/writers/families/kids etc who
    depended on that for their daily bread.
    You say don’t read it…I havent and thats why
    you and hearne are out of real work.
    ______________
    HC: Don’t know exactly what you’re smoking jojo but again, no glee here. Nice try at mindreading though. Keep after it, you’ll get better!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Johnny Utah
    The crappy jouralists and executives who survive these layoffs continue to baffle me.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Larry Luper
    The McClathy Group will cut as many businesses (especially in print media) cut. But Lewis Diuguid and Miriam Pepper should remain. They are better than many credit and they have put their time in, more than 30 years, that should be an anchor.

  16. Anonymous says:

    vwriter
    Oh Jesus, Jojo, you don’t get it. Look, you seem to be a fan of the paper, and sensitive to the people who got laid off. Well, I have news, I was one of those people and nowhere did I say I wanted to leave. It was an important part of my life for more than 20 years and there are aspects I still miss to this day.

    My point about whether to read or not – it is the very nature of newspapers to try to provide something for the greatest number of people possible. Because of that very mission, there are going to be many stories in a paper that don’t appeal to everyone, but there should hopefully be something for everyone.

    My point is that headlines exist for a reason, as do headers on blogs – they are meant to inform the reader of the content in the story, so if you are interested, read on, if not, move on to another story. I’m not saying don’t read the paper, I’m saying pick and choose what appeals to you based on the headline.

    And don’t tell me about how to be sympathetic about these layoffs – I lived it and I have many good friend who either have also been laid off, or are among the skeleton crew trying their best to put out a halfway decent product with no resources.

    Jesus.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Ghost of William Rockhill Nelson
    The Star will be an online only publication within a year. Maybe two. I mean, twooooooooo….

  18. Anonymous says:

    JS
    Let’s face it newspapers are not about news they are about advertising and they have been that forever. Journalists thought it was about the story but the money men at the top knew different. The Star can tout their website all they want with the great readership but does it produce enough revenue to offset the print advertising losses such as HyVee and Price Chopper?
    A healthy business does not layoff employees. Zieman’s email is fantasy at best. There will be a point where the revenue will even out with the expenses but the Star might look more like the Pitch than the Star at some point.

  19. Anonymous says:

    RV
    Keep McClanahan on the team…we need a real Amerikan to save The Kansas City Red Star. I would love to get paid for producing an editorial using one or two choice quotes from my favorite neocon think tank. Add a heaping dose of psychobabble…commie Dems, recession-era tax cuts and cutthroat Arabs…Tommy in Wonderland.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Deez Nuutz
    These people are who? And we should care why?
    Please at least try to pretend that the majority of your readers aren’t embittered ex-employees of the Star. No one cares, yo. Where’s the Hearne-tacular update about that hobo who begs for burgers or some shit?
    ________________
    HC: I thought you’d never ask!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Short Term Memory
    Who in the world is John Altevogt, and why is his face sunk into Hearne’s butt crack? Does he get paid for kissing Hearne’s rectum?

  22. Anonymous says:

    John Altevogt
    La Jeane keen was in editorial during the time I wrote my column. I believe she lives in a small town outside of KC. I couldn’t tell you what, if any, political views she holds. She was always very kind to me and extremely pleasant (sorta the kind of person you actually want working at your local newspaper).

    Julie Adam I don’t know except that she was I believe the last person to run the now defunct WYCO bureau that had been run into the ground by Fitzpatrick. It didn’t set the world on fire (and probably would not have been allowed to if she wanted to ), but neither did I see any negative agenda from her, just basic local news stuff.

    So that’s a small, small portion of who two of them are. I don’t think either one of them is the kind of person that have made people detest The Star in any way. Those folks still all seem to still be there. Must be in their job description.

  23. Anonymous says:

    tacitus
    WTF? Why not fire Mike Hendricks? At least Shepherd did real reporting AND was personable. Both things I can’t say for Hendricks.
    _________________
    HC: Hendricks and Penn already got their wings clipped in a previous layoff, remember? They took one-third pay cuts, were converted to part time and lost benefits and paid vacation (30 days).

  24. Anonymous says:

    craig glazer
    People realize other than the Pitch, this blog is one of the only other places to get local news. Lets face it the TV folks and most of radio will just follow the Star angle. Hearne has given the city another view. He is being a watch dog over the Star, cause nobody else will.

  25. Anonymous says:

    John Altevogt
    Tacitus, speaking of folks who make people hate The Star, Hendricks would certainly fall into that category. Hendricks couldn’t even produce a decent blog (for all you Hearne haters) and yet they keep him on while the copy editor that makes him seem even quasi literate is shown the door. Idiots.

    I once did a consulting gig for Legal Services on a job discrimination lawsuit. Turns out the company wasn’t evil, the moron in the personnel department didn’t understand statistics and the tests they were using didn’t measure who would be good for the job, only those who would be dismal failures. Mr. Igonorance hired the folks who got the highest scores, i.e. those whose skills were most negatively correlated with the job. Apparently he’s now in charge of the firing/retention decisions at The Star.

  26. Anonymous says:

    jojo
    we get news on this site?
    4 columns about a bad cover act for tyhe beatles
    at starlight.
    Happy news from hearne about people losing their
    jobs?
    Tonys negative insights into everything in kc.
    Glazer writing about strippers/holly star/
    banging broads/the cheifs and royals.
    Greg’s usual column about how bad sports is in
    kc.
    This is news? WTF!
    __________________
    HC: Cheer up, jojo. Whaddaya want, burning buildings and drive by shootings?

  27. Anonymous says:

    tacitus
    @HC – In fact, I didn’t remember Hendricks had his wages cut. That makes his employment slightly less offensive. I still contend he’s probably overpaid if he’s drawing any salary.

    @Altevogt – I’m glad someone else thinks he’s as incompetent as I do. Of course there are other editorial writers at the Star who I have genuine philosophical disagreements with… but I swear, nobody wastes space like Hendricks. Hell, I’ve seen better writing from Skip Slyster.

  28. Anonymous says:

    John Altevogt
    Diuguid is the dumbest, Shelly the sleaziest, Abouhalkah both the most boring (his columns on KC) and the most hateful (his continual attacks on Palin and her children) and does Miriam Pepper even do anything but draw a check? I can’t imagine it would amount to much if she did write. Sanchez I don’t agree with, but she at least has a brain, but Hendricks, at any pay doesn’t measure up to any of the local bloggers.

    This is the mystery. Take the people I just mentioned and dump them, then take that money and hire back some of the dynamite reporters you let go, let them actually write about what’s going on instead of kissing the establishment’s ass and the next thing you know you’ve got a product people would like to stare at over their Wheaties in the morning.

    For crying out loud, just writing about the sleaze at JCCC and KCKCC could keep an investigative team going for months, if not years. And the abuse and misuse of local charities and foundations, oy!

  29. Anonymous says:

    AP
    For you current and former Star scribes, I wonder if you can tell me if the perceived left-leaning stance of the paper is intentionally injected into stories by the folks in power. This is a complaint I have read over and over again, and I often chalk it up to disgruntled or disengaged readers. But I’d like an answer from people who have experience in dealing with this. Do you think reporters’ stories are hijacked – maybe too strong a word – by editors with an axe to grind?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughtful responses.

  30. Anonymous says:

    AP
    And a follow up, per John’s comment, do you think the Star bows to the KC establishment? I honestly don’t know. I grew up in KC, but moved away after high school, so I don’t have a lot of context. And, please, no ranting responses.

  31. Anonymous says:

    hearne
    Here’s my take. The type of people that mostly are/were attracted to print journalism at a newspaper – at least in the Baby Boomer Gen X generations – tend to be pretty liberal in their bias. The pay tends to be low, the upside incentives very limited and until the past few years, job security was pretty much rock steady.
    So that’s kind of where it tends to start.
    Editors at the Star are also wildly mindful of political correctness and live in extreme fear of repercussions from people of color. So they tend to discourage barking up tress where race is an issue. Did you notice on the paper’s blown coverage of Saturday night’s Plaza melee that there was no mention of the predominant racial component of the crowd?
    So while at times they will take things out of news stories and often do have their own generally unspoken agendas, it doesn’t come across as Big Brother wielding the heavy hand. They kind of proceed with what they honestly believe to be the correct and proper way to do things.
    That there is very little balance of opinion among the ranks on many important issues – from top to bottom – and the fact that they have enjoyed a virtual local news monopoly causes many readers to ask questions such as the above.

  32. Anonymous says:

    makesense?
    I wonder how many conservatives who complain of liberal bias in the media were driven to a career in journalism. Not that many fiscal conservatives are willing to make the sacrifice of committing to a career with modest financial rewards. Social conservatives, I don’t get that, since many of them are working in jobs that pay as much or less than reporters make.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Rick
    Thats it let jojo run wild but delete my comments. What no love for aaron barnhart and didn’t want to promote his watch the pilots event? Come on Hearne don’t be so petty. You’re like my boss that had my office torn down because he heard i made a joke that i must be more important to the company then he is because my office was bigger. A few weeks later my office comes down and i’m moved into a closet. Geez ego’s.

  34. Anonymous says:

    John Altevogt
    What Hearne said. I have called reporters to ask about statements in their pieces and had them be taken by surprise at comments that were inserted by editors after the article was written. You will also see articles in The Star that were pieced together from reports written by 2, or 3 reporters.

    Most of the reporters I know of at The Star are pretty decent if for no other reason than they often have to deal with the same people over and over and are not interested in burning any bridges over one issue.

    The problems I’ve seen usually emanate with the editors and above imposing a slant on a story, or stories. Some times they are political in nature and other times they’re simply shills for the establishment. Personally, I find the latter more appalling than the former and shilling for the establishment always trumps ideology. A couple of examples. Karen Brownlee, a staunch conservative supported on of the establishment schemes in Johnson County and was actually endorsed by The Star in one of the most awkwardly written endorsements ever published. On another occasion a reformer ran against a sitting judge where the issue was the judge’s alcoholism and The Star endorsed the drunk over the reformer. Ideology was irrelevant. Examples abound, endorsing the baggage laden Cleaver over a squeaky clean Jamie Metzl, posting a supposedly objective analysis of what Kansas City needed (with those needs being provided by all the right folks) posted for a lengthy period on The Star’s opinion section of its website, etc., etc., etc.

    If you want to know what the establishment agenda is, read Barb Shelly.

  35. Anonymous says:

    AP
    Thanks for your comments. If I’m not mistaken, Metzl was a political novice at the time.

    So what should the Star do? Balance out its editorial page? Invite more community input and feedback?

    And do you feel these complaints are widely held among conservatives and independents? Is the Star marginalizing a large audience in the KC area?

  36. Anonymous says:

    John Altevogt
    I’ve found that activists on both sides are generally unhappy with The Star, particularly those who deal with the local establishment.

    The problem is a top down issue. The Star has everything and has had everything it needs to create a decent newspaper you’d want to read in the morning, except the will to do so and that is purely a leadership issue.

  37. Anonymous says:

    hearne
    It’s really mostly a case of the biz attracting people of a certain leaning in the post Watergate era. That’s about the last time I recall offhand the newspaper biz being glamorized in a major motion picture. If you watch old black and white movies though, newspaper journalists were in all kinds of roles and situations. Clark Gable played a reporter. It was considered cool back in those million-years-ago days.
    When it comes to newspaper celebrity these days frankly, when you get much past Whitlock the pickings are slim. Maybe Kevin Collison,, Dan Margolies until he bailed outta the biz, and a scant few others, There really aren’t many true characters treading the stairs at 18th and Grand these days. OK, Dave Helling, from TV is one. Mellinger is on his way. Like him or not, Hendricks. Jenee in FYI, along with Aaron Barnhart.
    I may be forgetting a couple names, but as you can see, when I went past Whitlock, the drop off in personalities is huge.Not to say that there aren’t many fine reporters. And where are the next generation coming from? Not exactly the kinda biz model that encourages print-type journos to follow this career path.
    Perhaps the next wave will come from super smart, nerd geeks who are tech savvy (which doesn’t describe the current Star lineup). What their politics and/or socio economic leanings will be remains to be seen.

  38. Anonymous says:

    brian
    Most reporters I know, regardless of their politics, are straight shooters who enjoy finding a good story and taking it where it leads them. Sure, there are hurdles in getting some things published. But, more often than not, it’s because of concerns over fairness and balance.

    I know this can be difficult for many folks to believe, but professional ethics and doing the right thing by readers who have a right to know the truth remain fundamentals in the journalism game.

    Left? Right? That’s not the point. Report the story as accurately and interstingly as possible and let the words fall where they may. For those who are still getting paid to do full-time journalism, it’s not a conspiracy, it’s a living. And one that should be taken pride in.

    Are there bad apples? Yup. But like Donny Osmond sang, “One bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch, girl!” At least Donny and I would like to think so…

  39. Anonymous says:

    John Altevogt
    One big problem now that Hearne touched on is the pay and career future in journalism. John Landsberg just did a story on Rebecca Shelton. Rebecca was an excellent reporter at the Kansan and worked on a couple of her own publications and is now managing Penzeys Spices in OP. I guarantee you that’s no treasure trove.

    Hard to tell someone to get a college degree so they can get paid the same as a clerk at Walmart.

  40. Anonymous says:

    kate krass
    I think John Altevogt should do some investigative reporting for KCC. This from his comment, “For crying out loud, just writing about the sleaze at JCCC and KCKCC could keep an investigative team going for months, if not years. And the abuse and misuse of local charities and foundations, oy!”

    It would be great investigative reporting and someone needs to do it. Especially organizations that rely on taxpayer money and donations.

  41. Anonymous says:

    John Altevogt
    Hey lady, you fund it, I’ll do the research.

  42. Anonymous says:

    John Altevogt
    Incidentally, both JCCC and KCKCC had Trustees who were trying to get audits done to see where the money was going. One, Nolan Ellison, had been the president of a community college in Cleveland and has a national reputation for his knowledge of such institutions.

    Barb Shelly, The Star’s lead handmaiden to corruption bad mouthed both of them as troublemakers that needed to be defeated and supported instead slates of candidates who would maintain the status quo. Like an aged whore plying ever sleazier corners….

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