Today’s surprise axing of eight Kansas City Star staffers comes one week after new McClatchy President and CEO Patrick J. Talamantes visited the newspaper and assured newsroom staffers of brighter days ahead.
McClatchy is the parent company of the Star.
“People here are sick,” says one newsroom staffer. “They’re just like shaking their heads. Talamentes was just in last week telling us that the Star was the company’s shining star and how (corporate) is paying down their debt. He pretty much left us with the thought that we’re doing so much better and we’ve made great progress. And now it’s like, ‘We’re doing so great, let us kick you out the door.’ “
In addition to newsroom IT Chase Clements, three accounting staffers, a telephone operator and two production people were shown the door.
The staffers were reportedly given two weeks notice, six months of severance and the option to purchase up to a year in health benefits.
“Well, there’s always rumors,” the staffer says. “They never stop, they just keep coming. Now the rumor is that (controversial Star editor) Mike Fannin may be leaving.”
As for newsroom morale, “I don’t know, I’m just sick,” the staffer says. “It’s hard to get up and come to work every day.”