As the last subscriber to THE KANSAS CITY STAR on my entire block in Overland Park, I was surprised and saddened earlier today to receive an email from the newspaper’s movie editor advising members of Kansas City’s Film Critic’s Circle of his layoff by the Star.
I’ve known and worked with Bob on several levels for…well, let’s just say a long time.
Bob told me this afternoon that he actually began writing reviews for the Star in 1970. It was in 1977 that he became the paper’s movie editor following the departure of Giles Fowler.
And even with this week’s anticipated layoffs of 20-plus persons at the newspaper, I had the feeling that Bob was safe in his position. After all he’d already been cut to part time a couple years ago with his work week reduced from five to four days. I’m sure his benefits suffered accordingly. Yet Bob responded by turning out more entertainment copy than ever – more output in less time.
Apparently management didn’t appreciate that effort.
Will the newspaper use more syndicated movie reviews or go to outside, local contributors who are paid a small fee with no benefits on a per review basis? We’ll have to wait and see after Bob’s last day at THE STAR on May 13th.
The Star’s FYI section was once a fun read with names like Hearne Christopher, Jr., Brian McTavish, Ward Tripplett III and Robert Butler.
Not much fun left now.