Thursday, January 25, 2007

Management changes at the Enquirer

News here. Tom Callinan moves over, and managing editor Hollis Towns becomes executive editor. What exactly Callinan is doing now isn't clear, but it wasn't clear what he did when he was editor. He's now in charge of content and audience development. The cranky and hermit-like Callinan couldn't even develop an audience among the people in his own newsroom. Towns isn't well liked in the newsroom, but worse than that, he isn't respected as a journalist. He's also seen as a short-timer, just biding his time till he moves on to his next newspaper. Also note that he wasn't replaced as managing editor.

UPDATE: For a little insight into Towns, read this. My favorite quote is "I knew that sometimes I could be an ass. And insensitive. And unsympathetic. Insufferable. Demanding, among others. But, boy, I didn't know how much." Everyone else knew how much. He wrote that a year ago, and he is still all those things. No progress whatever. Towns thinks reporters are lazy. His famous quote is something about reporters "hiding in the weeds" to avoid work. He insulted everyone in the newsroom with that line, and they've never forgiven him for it.

And if you want to hear what a Gannett suckup sounds like, read this (you'll have to scroll halfway down the page, to Oct. 2, 2003). Callinan wrote it when Gannett was rolling out its ridiculous failed "Real Lives, Real People" program. It failed because it was another way of saying "do more with less", and because Callinan screamed at his editors, who screamed at the staff, who never bought into the program. The biggest lie in the memo is in the last sentence: "I'm interested in your thoughts."

The question in the newsroom seems to be: Is this the end of Callinan? Is this Gannett's way of shoving Callinan aside until he finally wises up and retires? That might be, and many people hope that it is, because they believe that his departure is long overdue. But what Gannett usually does is replace a failed editor with a rising hotshot, and Towns is no hotshot. The only thing we know for sure is that these moves will not make the Enquirer a better newspaper. Most of the newspaper industry is confused about what to do next -- to gain readers, win back advertisers and make more money. Callinan talks like he knows the lay of the land, but he's incapable of plotting a course and getting people to go along with him.


Blogger That Deborah Girl said...

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8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are they just shoveling the crap around?

Any way it is repackaged, it still smells the same. There have been too many cuts for it to be viable source of indepth, thoughtful or insightful information, in any form.

The independent bloggers, like NewsAche, are better. They can still speak thier mind and tell the truth.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Callinan was never anything more than a Gannett toadie who rolled into his office late every day just to receive his faxed instructions from corporate headquarters in Virginia. The only names he knew were those of young women. If two reporters had the same name, he'd be sure to mix them up, and dyslexia had nothing to do with it. He simply never bothered to meet his staff. Towns is in a position of showing his true self now that he doesn't have to pay homage to Callinan. People want to like Hollis, but he's very mercurial, probably due in large part to Gannett and Buchanan's constant demands to cut expenses and shift resources into content that no one will ever pay for. He's also on the aloof side. He never has heart-to-heart chats with his staff, which could be somewhat reassuring at a time when Gannett insists on fiddling with the Enquirer like some kind of lab rodent. He would do that if he really wanted to set himself apart from the socially inept Callinan. And if he doesn't stand taller against the tide of filler and fluff now swamping the pages of the paper, he's going to have nothing left to lead but a roomful of miserable data-entry clerks and page layout drones.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hollis has had plenty of time to show his true self. He makes promises he doesn't keep, like more regular staff meetings where he'll hear ideas and suggestions. And he doesn't seem to have much sense about news judgment. Hollis is a big guy, still built like the linebacker he was in college. You always hope guys like that are just big teddy bears and not gorillas, but Hollis isn't a teddy bear.

The Enquirer isn't a good enough paper to attract editors who really know what they're doing. They're like the Reds. All they can attract are "prospects" who learn on the job, or people like Callinan who are on the downside of their careers and are only looking for a paycheck. Hollis was a prospect, and he has pissed off the staff so much it's probably not possible he can turn it around.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what constitutes front-page news in the Enquirer in the Callinan/Towns era:

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The current publisher's "management style" doesn't help...hard to attract those who learn about it.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of them--Callinan, Towns and Buchanan--are Gannett puppets. Of the three, only Callinan was ever brave enough to stand up and he got kicked around for it. All three know that it they cease playing the part of the puppet, they will be out on their ear like the 31 at the Community Press will be soon.

And, Gannett would put in someone else to play the part. As people, they are in no win situations unless they carry out Gannett's cruel joke in the name of a dollar.

Now, aren't you happy to be not quite as wealthy, be able to hold on to your conscience and be free of all the strings attached?

Then, sooner or later, they will wind up with no conscience at all... and the Cincinnati area will be all the worse for it.

7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone: Better to keep being anonymous. Gannett legal is even uglier than the publisher and lynch men.

If you are counting on the Enquirer for a salary (for the time being), be extra careful to conceal hints of your identity. Snakes kill in many ways...

God bless this very sad situation.

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check this blatant marketing piece. Looks like a press release, written by the chip company.

Was the chip company teetering on buying an ad so they received free press as an incentive?

And, if you can catch it before the Enquirer reads it here, you might think you already knew part of it. It isn't you, it is a repeating paragraph. So much for unbiased editorial and reading the words first like newspapers use too? Sad, very sad.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's face it, it is not a very good publication; it continually misses the mark...

10:39 AM  

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