Star Search: Shock & Awe Hits 18th & Grand, New Publisher Announces Layoffs, Furloughs


I have to admit, this one caught even me by surprise…

New Kansas City Star publisher Mi-Al Parrish stunned the newsroom today when she unleashed her first ever round of layoffs at the newspaper.

"It was a shock, because people weren’t expecting it," says one source.

In addition to eliminating "seven staff positions," Parrish’s memo outlined that a one week unpaid furlough would be implemented for "most employees" to be taken in the first half of the year. That on the heels of a week’s furlough late last year.

"That’s two weeks with no salary," says another surprised Star staffer.

As is the custom, Parrish did not identify which staffers would take a bullet. But according to one source, only a single newsroom employee – tthe prolific Joe Lambe, a courts and 913 reporter in Johnson County – was thought to be on the kill list.

"That’s because we still have seven or eight positions that remain unfilled," says the source. "For example, J. Brady McCollough in sports left at the end of last year."

The floral-tongued McCollough hosed down the sports beat at KU and is now carrying on about hockey and Penn State for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Here’s what was weird and unexpected about the Parrish layoffs and furloughs today…

With signs that the newspaper had a kickass fourth quarter and economic indicators like car sales pointing upward, many staffers – plus me – figured the layoffs influenza might have passed after four years. At least for the immediate future.

Remember, the Star has gone from more than 2,000 prior to the downturn of 2003 / 2004  employees to barely 700.

Oh, well…
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14 Responses to Star Search: Shock & Awe Hits 18th & Grand, New Publisher Announces Layoffs, Furloughs

  1. harley says:

    hearne the grim reaper is laughing laughing laughing
    the only human (term used loosely) to grovel…laugh…and enjoy the downturn in peoples lives.
    You report every star layoff with such glee…such enjoyment and personal pleasure…

  2. so who's the dude? says:

    “Shock and Awe?” 100 would have been shock and awe. 7 is…meh.

    Just what does Olathe’s Jim Crawford, of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, have to do with this? ANYTHING?

  3. Hearne says:

    No glee here, H Man
    Nice try

  4. Hearne says:

    As for seven layoffs being “meh”
    Speak for yourself. That’s seven unexpected layoffs coming on the heels of hundreds and hundreds.

    You may not personally care much about taking a second week of no paychecks either, but trust me, that’s not the case with the people actually taking the hit

  5. harley says:

    shut up hearne…you’re laughing at these layoffs.
    you’ve taken personal joy in seeing these layoffs…you’re the only one in the city who reports on these..
    and you have a chip on your shoulder because the star fired you and made you open this little
    Hearne..wheres the google analytics…bring it on buddy…lets see if you’re lying…you are nowhere
    near the star or tony or any site in this town…
    you have expressed joy when the star has bad times. You hate these people admit it. Stop acting as if
    you’re trying to feel bad for the people laid off…you know whats going oninthe print industry…get real..
    and stop lying….and stop delighting in other people having problems….you are ________________!

  6. bschloz says:

    Sorry for everyone that lost their jobs.
    I wish some local player or Buffet would buy the place. Warren baby you are already 20% of revenue!

    Not sure how great things really are…stocks are soaring on aniemic volume. Bernanke has promised 0% until end of 2014. Pumping Wall Street while taxing us at the pump. Autos are up from 12 to 13 million so yeah a nice bounce but nowhere near pre crash levels. Meanwhile Greece was lit on fire last night while we watched the Grammy’s.

  7. harley says:

    bschloz…economy about to explode
    what we’re seeing now is the upturn in the economy..which will have problems…mostly ffrom the oil comapnies and
    wall street who want obama out…gas should be over $4.00-$4.50 this summer…all speculation…but obama
    will give the ultimatum to wall street…stop fucking with the economy or we will put all of you in jail.
    The economy is on fire…but there will be a severe labor shortage and shortage of product to sell consumers…
    growth would be huge if the repubs would get on board…but they will soon realize they won’t beat obama
    and wait for jeb bush in 2016. so get will be flowing..and europe may have to wait…but fgovernment
    will pump billions into the economy before election…
    all depends on what obama does to wall street…they fucked up the nation with their risky crap…and obaman
    will put them all in jail after november..
    most importantly…all this debt shit goes away january 1, 2013….the bush tax cuts expire and the economy
    is awash in money and away go the debt problems in america..
    as clint said..this is the second half…and its gonna be one big party….just like the 80’s and 90’s…
    obama/biden 2012.

  8. Smartman says:

    Grandmama Mi-Ai
    Wow, Mi-Ai looks kind of matronly in those pics, definitely not like the HOTTIE I envisioned from the neck down. All she needs to do is get rid of the commie lib NPR types on the editorial board and bring in some realistic right wingers whose thinking is more in line with the majority of the metro and happy days are hear again. Call me Mi-Ai, I’ll work free for the first year and make you look like Mrs. Pinchon.

  9. Hearne says:

    Words, words, words…
    It’s fascinating that you possess such insight into other people’s thinking – mine in this instance.

    But the truth is, you don’t have a clue, Harley. The Star didn’t fire me, they laid me off with dozens, hundreds of others. And tried to hire me back to freelance the column less than two months later. But by McClatchy rules I had to sit out 2009 before they could.

    I had a choice to make. To behave myself and rersurface in January 2010 for like for so many cents on the dollar or cover a historic chapter of American journalism with a very inside baseball perspective.

    I chose the latter, perhaps financially unwisely.

    But please, you have no clue what makes me tick, why pretend otherwise?

  10. xxMillerTimexx says:

    I think you are honest and do not have a agenda in these stories. Well…lets face it you have to have neg feeling about the Star, it is just human nature. You have to see that people are going to think that . I mean lets be honest, you let Glazer write for you, that guy is ruining your blog. So you like to be out there with stuff. But I do not think you are letting that get in the way of THIS story, it is a sad one. You are right, those seven are going through hell right now and the rest are wondering how money is going to work out with the missed weeks. Plus now they are wondering when the hammer is going to fall on them. I wonder how Print news papers are going to make it? In the age of twitter and the internet, everyone knows what is going on 24 hrs before the paper prints it. So maybe they need to shift their focus to more of a magazine formula and stick to stories that can be expanded farther. Because what they are doing now is not working.

  11. NGage says:

    Couldn’t happen to a better….er, worse…..paper
    Serves ’em right. Biased left-wing, liberal coverage……just getting what they deserve.

  12. TOby says:

    I’d like to see Hearne’s column back in the Star. We all rag on the guy, but he knows people and the column made the paper feel more connected to the city, even if it was often the same handful of people he went to for comments. Of course, I have no idea if that is realistic or not.

  13. Cliffy says:

    @TOby … I rarely looked at Hearne’s when he was at the Star. You say you miss it? Did he actually spend time gathering information back then? Sorry for those laid off. But I too think it makes Hearne secretly do some fist pumping every time it occurs. I got “laid off” once too. It sure felt like getting fired but keep telling us it’s different, Hearne.

    I now subscribe to the Star again … through Kindle Fire. It’s pretty good. A little over 20-cents an issue and it’s there waiting for me in my device every morning. Pretty sweet.

  14. Hearne says:

    Nice try, Cliffy
    I will admit, there’s some truth to the misery loves company cliche, but unlike you apparently, I’m not into fisting.

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