New Jack City: Robert Butler’s Ouster Another Blow for K.C. STAR Readers!


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.

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8 Responses to New Jack City: Robert Butler’s Ouster Another Blow for K.C. STAR Readers!

  1. chuck says:

    Butler was great.
    His reviews were the benchmark I used before I bought the ticket.

    Jack I watch you on the KC on demand channel, you quite often don’t actually give a review of the movie, you just explain it and run the trailer.

    Are those the ones you hate?

  2. jack p. says:

    Review vs. Preview
    Good observation, Chuck. I REVIEW movies on KMBZ / 99.7-THE POINT (KZPT) / RADIO BACH (KUDL-AM) and here at KcConfidential.Com.
    I don’t review them on K.C. ON DEMAND. There I PREVIEW new releases and use either trailers or behind-the-scenes pieces to tell the story—then ‘bookend’ them with my IN and OUT comments.
    And here’s an insight—I don’t even use makeup on those TV features.
    Thanks for watching though…..

  3. tacit says:

    Why fire Butler?
    Why get rid of Robert Butler, but keep Steve Rose and Mike Hendricks ??

  4. PB says:

    With tacit. At least Mr. Butler provided a needed service to those like myself who enjoy seeing movies. Rose and Hendricks, not to mention CW and Jenee’ bring absolutely NOTHING to the table.

  5. Hearne Christopher says:

    Hendricks also got converted to parttime two years ago and Rose is freelancing for peanuts.

  6. Hearne Christopher says:

    I disagree on Rose. While people can read dozens of movie reviews anywhere and everywhere, online and in sundry print publications, Steve brings some unique news and news perspective and insights to the Star.

  7. BarKeeper says:

    Gotta Keep My KC Star Subscription
    I don’t have much choice in the matter. My parrot refuses to shit on any other papers in the bottom of his cage. He’s hooked.

  8. Doug W. says:

    Butler is a winner…
    His reviews have been a guiding light for me over the past couple of decades. He got to the point, was easy to understand and brought many enjoyable movies to my attention that I might not have otherwise seen. The Star loses some of its value without Robert Butler on their staff.

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