The morale at the Kansas City Star in the wake of Monday’s layoffs debacle:
“Morale? If the staff had any morale, it’d probably be lower, I’m sure,” says a staffer. “But there is no morale left after five years of this. How could there be?”
Let’s see, heads rolling. Unpaid job furloughs. Star stores shutting down. Practically the entire country’s media focused on the uncaring, unwise way two woman reporters were pitted against one another to see which gets to keep her job.
Toss in the so-called “fiscal cliff” and the downward spiral of print newspapers and it’s difficult to be buoyant.
And now news staffers at the Star are playing out “Hunger Games” scenarios among themselves. As in, “What would we do if it happened to us?”
The two were left by editors to decide, with Dillon having the first right of refusal based on her seniority at the newspaper.
One former Star staffer’s take on how things might play out:
“Dawn Bormann leaves, goes on to a better life, and nothing changes management-wise. As long as the cash keeps rolling in they don’t care what happens to the employees. It’s what the people above (Star editor Mike) Fannin think about him that counts: not the people below.
“I think it would take a major incident – like Fannin is involved in a vehicular homicide while drunk or something – to topple him. I know that’s a horrible thing to say, but that’s what it would take. Or another public embarrassment.”
Fannin has a pair of DUIs, an assault conviction and jail time on his resume.
Word has it today that Fannin’s making the rounds of the newsroom and meeting with small groups to try and explain away the “Hunger Games” situation between Dillon and Bormann.
Something to the effect that management can either eliminate a position or eliminate a body. In this case they eliminated a body and gave the most senior person the choice of taking a buyout. If Dillon declines Bormann gets laid off.
“He’s going around trying to sell his bill of goods, but I doubt anybody’s buying,” says a source.
Talk about holiday dispirit.
Oh well, there’s always the newsroom holiday pot luck lunch this coming Tuesday.
The other stories: