Star Search: No Layoffs But Holiday Cheer MIA at KC Star

Without question, things are looking up at the Kansas City Star heading into the holidays….

New publisher Mi-Ai Parrish has been all over the newsroom and able to weather the bad financial numbers from corporate without going the layoffs route. In part because of the recent wave of optimism on the economy and advertiser’s anticipation of better holiday sales.

That’s a good thing.

However, sources say the atmosphere among the 700 or so Star survivors (there were more than 2,000 prior to the dot com recession of the early 2000s) is still grim.

"It used to be full of life here, now it’s just empty," says one Star staffer. "Now it’s devoid of life."

In no small part because of the vast sea of empty desks that serve of as constant reminders of better times.

"I think people are still sad for what was and they know it’s not coming back," the staffer says. "And we have no idea what the future holds  – no idea."

The Star’s ghost town effect may be cured if plans to consolidate sports and FYI into the main newsroom bear fruit.

For those familiar with the Star‘s office layout prior to the past three years, it’s hard to imagine the entire third and fourth floor FYI area and the sports section evacuating their longtime homes. However the ranks are so thinned they’ll likely fit right into the half-empty main newsroom which should improve morale.

How bad are things?

"You should see the place at night," the source says. "It was always somewhat busy at night but now it’s empty – maybe four or five people. There’s so much empty space in the second floor newsroom and up in features too, you could play ball up there and never hit anybody."

Depressing as that is, people’s work spirits are strong.

"Actually, yes," the source says. "They still believe in what they do and they still do it. That’s one of the things the Star has going for it. And they’re happy that they still have a job."

The flip side of that equation:

"If you look at the paper every day you still see a lot of errors. For a paper that had so much pride in accuracy and used to have verification workshops – which you went to once – it’s a major fall from grace. Or let’s say, a come down. The typos online can be fixed in five minutes but not the ones in print."

Why then so few corrections? Is it because the readers rep’s wearing four hats?

"Well, for one thing there are a lot less stories in then paper, so there’s less chance of making errors. Think about that. There are fewer reporters, fewer stories, fewer errors but less news."

And – knock on wood – less layoffs.

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14 Responses to Star Search: No Layoffs But Holiday Cheer MIA at KC Star

  1. Johnny says:

    Buck for a duck, a duck for a fuck & buck for a fkd up duck
    Were you aware that as of today the Star cost $1.00 on the newstand? I rarely buy a paper these days, but today I did to keep me company at lunch, and sheesshh… a buck for this thin piece of crap? It is really really thin, I am not being mean because that is cool here, I am honestly saying it is not worth a Dollar…… I would have been better off reading the writing on my One Dollar Bill.

  2. Hot Carl says:

    “And we have no idea what the future holds – no idea.”

    Really? Because your future is bleak. I’m sorry you haven’t figured that out yet. Start looking for a new job now.

  3. kcfred says:

    …you need an intervention, dude. This obsession you have over your former employer (and the downright glee you take in publishing all the bad news you can find, even when you make it up), is NOT healthy. They fired you, get over it. Go to any media today (ask Entercom how many people are in the building in Mission as compared to the one on Belinder),and you’ll find the EXACT same story. I wonder how many of them bemoan their fate and carry a grudge for years, or just move on? The difference? You have a column and they don’t write about it ad nuseum. Get over it.

  4. Johnny says:

    I SAID!!!!
    Were you aware that as of today the Star cost $1.00 on the newstand?

  5. Merle Tagladucci says:

    Hearne can’t let go of the past. Look where his doomed Christmas party was going to be held.

  6. Hearne Christopher says:

    You call this bad news?

  7. Hearne Christopher says:

    What do you mean, was?

  8. Your best friend says:

    Keep the news coming
    Nobody, I mean nobody, reports on media in Kansas City with the perspective Hearne has. I say this as an independent-minded professional journalist. I appreciate the information on this site. He clearly has sources at The Star willing to talk, and having been an editor at the Pitch – right? – he has an idea of how the business side works. You folks care enough to read and comment, and you should care about the state of local news in your city. Without a newspaper driving coverage, most TV and radio reports – and the wire agencies – would be SOL. And without a newspaper, all aspects of civic life would suffer. So thanks for the coverage, Hearne.

  9. Hearne Christopher says:

    Prego. And yeah, I ran and built up the Pitch in the late 80s and early 90s, hired CJ, moved it out of the record store and started it on its way to being an alternative news and arts publication.

    Of course that and maybe three bucks will get me a vente nonfat latte at Starbucks. I mean, Broadway Cafe.

  10. Mysterious J says:

    Don’t dislocate your shoulder patting yourself on the back about your great work at The Pitch.

  11. Beena says:



  12. Hearne Christopher says:

    I’ll try not to, but it wouldn’t be here today otherwise. It was losing money and the owner tried to include it in the record store sale to Streetside but they did not want it. I also killed an effort by some of the record store employees to have a contest to choose a new name for it.

  13. Dave says:

    A compliment?
    “Nobody, I mean nobody, reports on media in Kansas City with the perspective Hearne has.

    — Thank god.

    (Wow… these addition problems always seem to end up being either eleven or twelve … ATTENTION, BOTS ….)

  14. Dave says:

    You are a total badass ….
    ” I also killed an effort by some of the record store employees to have a contest to choose a new name for it.”

    Oops. I meant to say “dumbass.”

Comments are closed.