Talk about snow jobs…
The faux news coverage in today’s Kansas City Star about its stealth layoffs yesterday is disingenuous at best. Why? Because while the story reads, "The Kansas City Star announced Monday it is eliminating the jobs of about 20 employees and cutting a similar number of unfilled positions," little to no evidence exists of any such announcement.
No press releases, no meaningful news coverage on its Web site. Just a buried business brief in today’s paper and a lone comment on the Star Web site from a reader who didn’t find the story until 24 hours after the fact.
Clear evidence of the Star’s’s Grade A job of turning its layoffs story into a journalistic game of hide-and-go-seek.
Which left local Web sites and bloggers to dig around and guess at what was going down as 40 jobs at the Star were going south. Forty jobs on top of the hundreds lost in recent years, and the newspaper hides a byline-less story on its Web site with zero actual reporting?
How about asking and/or answering some basic questions?
To put these layoffs in perspective, the Star fielded more than 2,000 employees 10 years ago when the dot com bubble burst. Now, based on what I was told by editors prior to my leaving in late 2008, that number is dangerously closer to 500. Maybe less. So for heavens sake why if this is being reported as news, is it not be treated as news? Tough questions asked, answers given ot not given. Why the pretense?
Because the newspaper wants it both ways.
To act as if it’s being forthcoming and treating itself as it does others – when clearly it’s not. When reporter Dan Margolies was at 18th and Grand, the Star played on his credibility by having him write the layoffs stories. Even then, they really weren’t the news stories they pretended to be. They were carefully worded and edited press releases from Star management.
So KC Confidential and the online community spent Monday second guessing what was going down.
Jerry Heaster’s son Randy got axed. Copy editor turned Monday morning poet, Don Munday took a bullet. Or did he? Maybe he was still mulling over a buyout offer of some kind. Munday declined to comment, but looks like he’s gone.
And so where was this grand announcement the Star says it made yesterday?
Not in the Star‘s Press Release Central. Not in today’s business news listings. Not in yesterday’s daily Dollars & Sense business briefs. And not in today’s Recent Local Stories.
Where’d they hide it?
You can bet if Sprint or Kansas City or Hallmark was axing staff – especially in the context of the dramatic, cuts the paper’s made these past three years – the Star would have been all over the story. There’d be no search for the truth, we’d be reading read it on the main page of yesterday’s KansasCity.com and one of today’s print edition front pages.
Somehow the Star managed to get the layoffs story onto its site but out of sight.
And it did such a good job at hiding it that it took nearly 24 hours for a lone commenter, glasshunter, to find it and remark: "Nobody wanted the byline on this one?"