Star Search: Star Quietly Stuns Staffers With 40 Job Cuts

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 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?"

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12 Responses to Star Search: Star Quietly Stuns Staffers With 40 Job Cuts

  1. Tom Violence says:

    Hearne and John
    You and Landsberg have been on this soapbox for a while. But I’m not sure they’re supposed to flog themselves like you suggest.

    Or if they are, you might disclose why you don’t hold yourself to the same standard. After all, if you’re suggesting that the Star should splash its failings and troubles prominently in its own paper, I guess you should have held yourself to that same standard when you were at the Star. For example, did you go to Steve Shirk and insist that the correction the paper had to run about the disinformation you disseminated in the Star about The Pitch’s Best Of section in 2006 or 2007 be displayed prominently in the paper? I don’t believe you did that. It was a buried correction, like all the other ones the Star does. Did you have a problem with it then? If not for that tiny correction and the full-page column CJ Janovy wrote blasting you for your journalistic practices, the whole thing would have gone unnoticed. Did you have a problem with that?

    Moreover, are you planning on offering a mea culpa for blasting the Star for reporting the violent circumstances surrounding Brian Euston’s death when it turned out they were right? Are you going to call Darin Snapp and get his reaction to the Star’s original coverage now that it appears there were violent circumstances surrounding Euston’s death, since you saw it appropriate to use his quotes to blast the Star in your initial reportage of the story?

    And before John Altevogt attacks the messenger here and assumes I’m a Star employee, the answer is no. I have no dog in your guys’ fight with the Star.

  2. chuck says:

    Jeeze Louise—schnadenfreude much?
    Are we on the Great Plains, or the Plains of the Serengeti?

    Herne is eating the ass end out of the KC Star Water Buffalo while it still lives.

    Can’t blame him, most of us, tortured, embarrassed and eventually fired from a job, for what we belived were unjust cause, would no doubt love to eviscerate on an almost daily basis, our former employers, especially with skills aquired from same.

    The ineluctable continuation of layoffs at the KC Star will no doubt inspire Mr. Christopher to similar elegies in the near future (heh, heh…) and provide much needed catharsis for those ex employees who have shuffled their journalistic coil for a soft landing in the blogosphere.

    Yeah, I’d probably do the same thing.

  3. chuck says:

    I am NOT a KC Star employee.

    Mr. Altovogt at one point said I worked for the Star.

    I am a blue collar worker bee.


  4. Tom Violence says:

    Altevogt rarely has a coherent thought. He’s so deranged by his constant paranoia about the Star’s supposed nefarious agendas. And this is coming from someone with pervasive paranoia.

    KCConfidential could post an item on how Kansas City has the most beautiful sunsets, and Altevogt would say the sky over this city appears red at sunset because evening writer deadlines at the Commie Pinko Star have even influenced even God’s perception on the Kansas City atmosphere.

    That dude needs to get a grip on reality.

  5. admin says:

    Altevogt was too busy on The Star’s site today having a meltdown over the Judy Thomas story.

    I’m not going to say which commenter it is, but it’s not hard to figure out.

  6. John Altevogt says:

    Thank you
    Thank you very much.

  7. John Altevogt says:

    And also thank you
    for reminding me of yet another ethical breakdown at The Star. On most sites I post as myself. However I do enjoy posting on some sites as a Democrat, or leftist of some variety, although always using my own ideas. It’s sort of fun watching people who would normally scream obscenities at me cheering me on. Of course no one on any of these sites has tried in any way to out who I am except at- c’mon now, you can guess- yep, The Star. Derek Donovan during his meltdown about a year ago tried to give away who I was. Talk about a complete ethical lapse. Of course you can do anything you want if you’re one of the favored few at The Star and so there were no consequences for his misconduct (and that was the mildest of his misconduct during that particular period). Very funny, he was lashing out at everybody and their brother, deleting posts off his blog, and posting stuff that was so beyond the pale that he had to pull them off the site. After that, he had to block so many people off his blog that virtually no one posts there anymore. If one of the Indians down there had done that they’d hung them up to dry but because it’s one of their affirmative action babies, he got away with it. What a joke.

  8. Hearne Christopher says:

    For you non-Star stalker readers, this obviously is somebody like Joyce Smith who’s been a great fan of mine over the years, and has an appetite to back up three or six years to try and re-write a little history. My body of work at the Star stands – corrections and all. Comes with the turf.

    My critiques of the Pitch “Best Of” issues – which actually were an amalgam of thoughts and opinions from people like Peregrine Honig, Will Gregory and Chris Seferyn – stood and continue to stand on their own merits. You don’t get any thinner skinned than C.J. and throwing her reporter Joe Miller under the bus for trying to defend the Pitch Best Of issues was one of the dumber things she’s done.

    As for Euston’s death, the Star corrected it’s error. It wasn’t a beating then and it still isn’t. Even if it had turned out to be, speculating on something and ending up being correct is not the way the journalism game is meant to be played. Snapp was on solid ground outing the Star for being haughty rather than accurate – no mea culpas needed there.

    Not a former Star employee? If you’re concerned about your credibility, why don’t you belly up to the news bar and state your name and identity? Promise I won’t let Tony stalk you.


  9. Hearne Christopher says:

    You might. But unfortunately I wasn’t fired. I was laid off with dozens, now hundreds of others in the monumental free fall that has plagued the Star and newspapers nationwide.

    Nice to see you’re good and pissy though. Good comment!

  10. chuck says:

    Was there a run on aluminum hats yesterday?

  11. chuck says:

    as usual—
    I stand corrected. 🙂

  12. Joe says:

    Just wait till web 2.0 and the social media bubble bursts the unemployment rate will shoot up to 50%,

Comments are closed.