First let’s wonder aloud about those recently announced layoffs and/or cutbacks at the Kansas City Star...
Department heads were told of the coming cuts three weeks back, so the deed could go down any day. As in tomorrow, Tuesday. That’s because the newspaper tends to lower the boom at the beginning of a pay period. TLastt Friday being payday and today being a holiday – Martin Luther King Day – Tuesday could be Blues Day.
Remember, cutbacks and/or layoffs are triggered at McClatchy when quarterly targets are not met.
So while the Star more than likely made money – radio advertising and retail sales were all up – remember, this is an ailing industry. Print circulation and readership continue to spiral downwards and this is a trend a healthier economy cannot unto itself cure.
Yes, an end to this recession would lift all boasts, but as former Star publisher Art Brisbane noted two years back, when the dot com recession went away, the Star‘s bottom line improved but classified advertising did not come back. And some of the newspaper’s largest remaining advertisers – grocery stores and car dealers – all continue to look and find more contemporary and cost effective ways to reach their target audiences.
And while the Star boasts of the readers it reaches online, unfortunately that’s not where the all-important big profits are.
ROCK CHALK REVIEW
Let’s back up a bit from the recent KU Ticket Scandal news…
To an email that went out last month and got lost in the holiday shuffle. A cautionary missive from Kansas Athletics, specifically the Kansas Athletics Compliance Office.
Bleak as things were and still are, a beleaguered Jayhawk wrist slapping squad mustered its sense-of-humor and sent out an email blast headlined thusly:
"HAPPY HOLIDAYS from your Kansas Athletics Compliance Office Elves"
And while the ouster of KU sports head dude Lew Perkins followed by the parade of Williams Fund and KU Ticket Office rip off artists may be no joking matter, it’s notable that the campus cops found it so.
"Dear Jayhawk Alumni, Boosters and Friends," it begins. "All of us take great pride in the success of Kansas Athletics and certainly do not want to do anything that would tarnish the accomplishments of our Jayhawk student-athletes on and off the field. In an effort to encourage you to communicate with our office, we want to take this opportunity to remind you with a few NCAA reminders this holiday season."
Loosely translated: No under the table Christmas bonuses for the boyz in blue!
To hammer home their point – in massive lettering ran the following headline:
"As a Booster, you MAY NOT:
"Provide an extra benefit to a student-athlete. This includes, but is not limited to, Christmas, holiday gifts, free/reduced services, money, etc…Provide a meal or entertain student-athletes or their family and friends outside of your home, i.e. restaurant, tailgate, etc."
No schmoozing, right? Got it.
The flip side of that equation: "As a Booster, you MAY:
"Employ a student athlete! (note the exclamation point)…Obtain student-athlete’s autographs, however you may not sell the item for personal gain."
At least not while they’re at KU, right?
And finally, the Compliance Elves caution: "Ask Before You Act."
Sounds like KU’s Elves are walking on pins and needles.