Star Search: Dread, Shock & Awe Await KC Star Newsroom Inhabitants

“Rooms should not be put together for show but to nourish one’s well- being.”

So stated celebrated American interior designer Albert Hadley.

That aside, newsroom staffers at the Kansas City Star are quaking with dread over the prospect of taking up residence in the newspaper’s vast, newly-redesigned newsroom.

“I should send you a picture,” says one newsroom inhabitant. “Everybody in the whole news division is going to be packed into it – news, sports, business, Ink, features – everybody except the library and the people in Johnson County will be squeezed in there. I mean everybody gets like a seven-by-seven cube and they have no high privacy boards so you’ll be able to see everybody’s heads, hear everybody. Imagine if you’re interviewing somebody.”

“Actually, it’s six-by-six,” counters another newsie. “It looks like a call center. Everyone’s just kind of crammed in and everyone’s on top of each other.”

How crowded is it?

“Very – that’s not a very good quote, but very.”

Phase one of the newsroom redo is slated to be completed soon.

What to expect?

“People are going to work from home a lot, the people who are able to anyway,” one staffer predicts. “Because people have a lot of room in the newsroom now and they won’t in the new one and they won’t have any privacy either.

“The south side will be done in a couple of weeks and then they’ll tear out the north side of the newsroom. And everyone is dreading the move except for the (few) people who have offices.”

The worst aspect of the new Star newsroom?

“People won’t have any privacy to do anything or be themselves.”

The best?

“Uh, they can rent out the third floor now, I don’t know. Maybe they can turn the third floor into a rave bar.”

The features / FYI department currently occupies the third floor, with sports on a level of its own between the second and third floors.

The bottom line:

“In five years, it’ll probably be the same as the old newsroom again with stacks of junk piled on the empty desks of laid-off employees.”

The redesign and consolidation of news staffers underscores a recent flight of key staffers and gloomy morale among layoff-survivors.

“It just sucks to work here now,” sighs one staffer. “I have to work with 150 people where the specter of death is ever present and you can imagine what that’s like. It’s just no fun to work here anymore and who would want to?”



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6 Responses to Star Search: Dread, Shock & Awe Await KC Star Newsroom Inhabitants

  1. Kerouac says:

    It could be worse: could be working for Pioli/Hunt’s Chiefs (instead of just writing about them)…

  2. Super Dave says:

    Seen a lot of larger companies offices where the privacy is less than what these whiners are crying about. Then there is the places where you share a desk with another person as well. You might work the dayshift and get the drawers on the right side and they work the evening shift and get the drawers on the left side. As well they have no walls to speak of around them either or are you even allowed to have a picture of the family on the desk. So in short you have the area of the desk you call your space and thats it. Oh by the way thats the new wave now in corporate office no personal items on the desk so somethng you have doesn’t offend anyone else in the office. Some even now have rules over the style of cups used for water and coffee and so forth on your desk. Oh almost forgot no eating of the lunch or snacks at your desk either in fact no food allowed at all at your desk unless a medical need dictates such and your doctor writes a letter stating so.

    These people just need to be glad they have a job in a market where the jobs are drying up and just shut up.

    Guess if they really put out stories people and others like me would like to read money would be spent buying the paper and placing ads and then they might have a better office lay out but people don’t so it is what it is.

  3. Rick Nichols says:

    I don’t think this (7′ x 7′ cubicles) is quite what Mr. Gusewelle envisioned when he penned his column for the March 11 issue of The Star, discussing the proposed plan to return the News Room to the open look it had at an earlier time. I say, get rid of the cubicles altogether. The News Room shouldn’t look like Dilbert-ville! There was no real privacy to be found in most of the News Room in “the good old days,” and even in this the computer age there’s no reason to be “separating” one employee from the next with some sort of a partition. Hey, save the money and throw a big party for everyone if for no other reason than to simply boost morale (if only for a few hours) since low morale is said to be such a problem at the paper these days. And, yes, even a bad day at work at 18th and Grand is still better than a good day at work at One Arrowhead Drive.

  4. Brian says:

    Can we please get an update on the cubes at Sprint and Cerner. Maybe Hallmark if you have the time.

    Who cares?

  5. the dude says:

    Rick is right, old school newsies had desks with no namby-pamby cubicle walls.
    Kids these days have it so good and they don’t even know it.

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