Hearne: Newsroom @ KC Star Braces for First Layoffs Since ‘Hunger Games’

1325382746361The imaginary sirens have sounded and news roomers at the Kansas City Star are hunkering down…

That in the expectation that another round of layoffs is about to unfold, sources say.

“We’re hearing it everywhere,” says one staffer who asked not to be named. “There have been meetings between editors and human resources and everyone is expecting the worst.”

That’s the bad news.

The good news is it’s been almost a year since last December when the last troubling round of layoffs at 18th and Grand.

Perhaps you recall.

That’s when practically the entire media world gasped in horror as the newspaper pitted a pair of reporters against one another – a la the movie Hunger Games – essentially leaving them to decide which would go and which would stay.

The-Hunger-Games-Catching-Fire-ftrThe reporters – Karen Dillon and Dawn Bormann – reportedly had a week to sort it all out with Dillon having seniority in the decision-making process.

Not surprisingly, it was Bormann who took the bullet, along with Star publisher Mi-Ai Parrish, who was roundly criticized by everyone from Romanesko and Gawker and to USA Today, Reuters, The New York Times and Indianapolis Star.

Parish tried to put out the PR fire, characterizing the reporter’s situation as “voluntary.”

“As most of you know, The Star has tried to make voluntary options available on many occasions when it has been necessary to make reductions in our workforce, in order to lessen the impact of involuntary eliminations,” she wrote in a memo to staffers.

“For this particular severance program, for any group of two or more employees in which a reduction is to occur we did offer a voluntary option,” Parrish continued. “However, if there are no volunteers, as is our past practice, the employee with the least tenure will be included in the reduction.”

Screen shot 2013-10-20 at 11.05.48 PMUnfortunately for Parrish, Dillon had already confirmed to Romanesko that  “We’ve not made an official decision” on who gets to stay and, “It’s one of the most difficult situations I’ve ever faced.”

Which brings us perhaps to this Tuesday or reasonably soon thereafter…

Who knows, maybe Parrish wait until next month for Hollywood’s second coming of the Hunger Games on November 22nd.

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15 Responses to Hearne: Newsroom @ KC Star Braces for First Layoffs Since ‘Hunger Games’

  1. Nick says:

    Seriously though – if your only goal is to become USA Today Kansas City, running AP and Reuters (and perhaps even Al Jazeera and Christian Science Monitor) wire “stories”, how many freaking reporters do you need?

    • the dude says:

      None, that is the endgame with more ads than ever.
      Beyond Star Thunderdome: Two full time reporters enter, two free lancers leave!

  2. cu_member says:

    There was a story on A-2 yesterday on the guy who owned the boat the Boston bomber was hiding in. I read that story at least 4-5 days before online in the NY Times.

    There isn’t a lot to read in the dead tree version and the online version of the star chooses to spotlight celebrities and various other lame stories. Its very much dumbed down.

  3. Stomper says:

    Old newspaper addicts like myself are a quickly dying breed. I’m still in mourning at the loss of the Kansas City Times almost a quarter century ago. With the exception of the want ads, I still read the Star cover to cover every morning but admit that 90% of the news I get is either online during the day or from the 24 hours news stations at night. Of course KCC keeps me on the cutting edge as well. Sad to watch the slow death of newspapers but can’t stop the forward motion.
    Thanks HC.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Stomper, for years my Sunday morning is consumed with the Sunday NYT and a pot of coffee. My living room is lined with 400 vintage books, first editions of all genre. I love the tactile experience they both bring.
      While I have services that deliver stories to me online, based on key words, I too mourn the impending loss of “the real thing.”

  4. admin says:

    Well, boys and girls, the ax is falling as we speak.

    Details to follow.

  5. admin says:

    And you guys won’t believe the one name I’m hearing.

  6. Mysterious J says:

    This is why I keep coming back…I get a kick out of Hearne’s glee when others experience misfortune. Too much teabagger babbling and not enough schadenfreude here lately for my tastes.

  7. newbaum turk says:

    Why don’t they lay off HR? Anybody who works somewhere with an HR Dept. knows how worthless they are. They do nothing but make people do a bunch of shit NOBODY in the company from top to bottom wants to do. They only exist to try to lawsuit-proof a company. They do nothing that advances the company. After that go for Jenee. She only still has a job because of one reason.

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