Thursday, June 05, 2008

Is change coming?

How do you describe individual Enquirer editors without using names? You could say "the crazy editor," but there would be several candidates. Same goes for "milquetoast" or "bully."

Let's go with "bully." One of the Enquirer's editor bullies is said to have interviewed for the executive editor position at Gannett's Fort Myers News-Press in Florida last Friday. There will be many people cheering for this bully's departure, but you have to ask, why would anybody hire him? First, he's a bully. Second, there is not a single thing that happened during his tenure that would impress anybody journalistically. The only thing he's good at is scowling and shouting, but those aren't really talents.

Wait, maybe we should say only good things about him so somebody hires him. He's large, and I think he can spell many words well.

UPDATE JULY 7: The News-Press decided to go in another direction.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nah, he can't spell.

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Addendum to preceding: He can scarcely type either.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Computer skills? We don't any stinking computer skills.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

His column in the EnqSpots newsletter will follow him for eternity on the Web through the Romenesko archive. His words: "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."
From all the editors cowering in fear in meetings and from all the reporters "hiding in the weeds," we all stand ready to provide sworn testimonials of your greatness.

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no idea who the editor is, but I have this to say: Given the talent and leadership abilites in personalities such as him (her?), is it any wonder why the newspaper business is going down the toilet?

And if this person leaves, will it make much of a difference at either paper?

Former Postie

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, the loss would just be crippling for that well-oiled machine on Elm Street.

But reporters and editors who've been living in fear for several years could be in for an only short-lived period rejoicing. One never knows what new evil Gannett would import, and it often does import rather than promote from within for such a position.

Couple of interesting and definitely not evil internal candidates:

Lee Ann Hamilton, the projects editor who has been an ME elsewhere in Gannett. She has all the credentials.

And Julie Engebrecht, the local news editor who probably more than anyone has had to carry the weight of the, shall we say, tactics of the incumbent. She's held the ship together despite it all and deserves a shot.

Both stand in well with Tom Callinan.

Time will tell.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julie Engebrecht?

She was among the most loathesome people I've met in the business.

It's been a few years, though, so maybe she's had an awakening like Towns.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beaten down by you-know-who.

A life-changing experience.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

loathsome? come on. She's one of the few decent top level editors at the Enquirer.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julie certainly doesn't deserve to be called "loathsome". She's one of the very few editors at the Enky that seems to give a damn about the "little people".

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Julie took her failure in Sports hard, and for a while afterwards was crabby. But she's been much nicer of late.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Enquirer's blog traffic seems to have dipped to almost zilch since the switch. Anyone else noticed?

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boohoo. A bunch of so-called professionals can't get up the gumption to tell Ms/Mrs/Mr/Miss editor to knock it off. Spare me. They deserve the treatment they get.

And if this person is soooooo bad why isn't that reflected in the latest employee survey that has management getting good grades? Or why isn't the paper doing poorly, which comparatively it's not?

It isn't the maligned editor who should move on, it's this crew of perennial malcontents who linger and never find anyone good enough to meet their standards. Have they ever had a job any place else? Think not.

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds like anon 9:16 p.m. might be the editor-in-question, or a toady/suck-up.

The truth hurts, dear.

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, 9:16’s sounds like the publisher.

She believes people deserve her “treatment” if they don’t push back too. Though, they’re out if they do. The surveys - given this culture, reflect employee timidity and distrust, not reality. And, even if they did, little happens, hence people really don’t question aloud, let alone tell people to knock it off

And, please, doing poorly comparatively is still poorly isn’t it? If Gannett’s write downs are due to the UK, then one can’t wait to see US valuations...including the Enquirer’s significant loss.

Actually, it’s attitudes like 9:16 that are hurting this company. And, given the likes of far too many 9:16’s within Gannet, and the editorial boards advice to DHL on Sunday, maybe more here should be planning accordingly too as things won’t change until people like them are gone.

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the past two days, Gannett announced plans to cut its value by up to $3 billion and that it will freeze payments to its employee pension plan to save upwards of $30 million.

You have to wonder what it will come up with next.

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd prefer a publisher who holds you accountable for your staff's work, and who relishes creative solutions, to a bully who plays the race card, or to a mousy Local News editor who enjoys stepping on competent journalists.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is it about Gannett's uncanny capability to breed bullies?

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, so there are 42 dumb shits and dumb shit #43 walks in. Dumb shit #43 was picked from the field of dumb shits higher up from the other 42. What do you think happened?

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come now, Gannett has no lock on the breeding of bullies. Happens at every chain, family-owned paper and other media outlet. They are legion.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a top Gannett manager and a bully isn't a bug, it's a feature.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 5:21 p.m.,

Your attempt at justification is textbook Psych 101.

"Things are bad everywhere, so it's OK for them to be bad here, and it's OK for me to work here and do nothing about it."


9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geez, anon 9:21 AM, you got THAT outta what I said? Bully for you. BUT, that's NOT what I said. I said Gannett has no lock on bullies. If you HAVE worked elsewhere, you'd know that. Wasn't an attempt at justification, was an attempt at explanation. If you have an ulterior motive for your accusation,let's hear it.

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, does anybody know whether the offender in question will take the job in Florida?

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The in-fighting now taking place is exactly what Gannett wants its workers to be distracted with. Face it, incompetent corporate managers don't want to hire smart people who will make them look bad. With Gannett's emphasis on profit, economy and diversity, the "bully" was the perfect hire. Only he belongs in charge of a crew of rock breakers or a call center, not an operation that calls for professionalism, collegiality and creativity.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think yer guy is going to be stayin put, at least that's the word on the "street" Sorry.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's OK. As Mel Brooks would say, Gannett would only replace one Biggus Dickus with another.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Florida never had a chance.

I heard today he was in New York on Monday at the Associated Press World headquarters interviewing for one of the AP's new regional Bureau Chief jobs. These are coveted positions that under their reorganization breaks the country into four regions.

He supposedly went to dinner with the CEO.

Anybody know how true this is?

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for him. I hope he gets it. You dickheads would not know a good journalist even if you sat on one.

I happen to know him and worked with him in Atlanta and Detroit. He is one of the most respected journalists in the business. He is one the best bosses i ever had, probably the best. He is an excellent line editor.

As for being a bully? Puh-leeze! If holding people accountable makes him a bully then he is.

I have never seen him berate, yell at or bully anyone in that friggin newsroom, and there have been times when I thought he should have kicked some butt.

But you people amaze me. I read this thread and thought enough already. The man may be tough, but he is NOT a bully.

The REAL bully is Margaret Buchanan and the spineless minion called VP of Audience Development.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You haven't seen that behavior? We have. Tough is fine if it's backed by intelligence and wisdom, but that's not what we have here. His tactics go way beyond demanding accountability. He manages without a single idea in his head -- original or otherwise.

The great thing about journalism is that proof of one's ability in there on paper for the world to see. And it's plain to see the Enquirer is not a better paper today than when he arrived. The Enquirer's journalism is totally undistinguished, and there's almost no watchdog journalism. The buck stops at his desk. I can't name one good story that he led from start to finish. I can name his fuck-ups, though.

I've worked for many bosses and he's among the five worst. No ability to lead, no ability to inspire, no ability to build consensus, no ability to lead coverage on an important story. Can't edit and make stories better. He asks for ideas then ignores suggestions. He promises to change and doesn't. Most respected journalist? Respect starts at home, and almost nobody at the Enquirer respects him. If he's the best you've worked for, I would have quit the business or committed suicide long ago.

Margaret's not the greatest publisher in the world, but it's not as though the Enquirer was on its way to becoming a great paper when she arrived and she derailed that train. News management was in place when she arrived. Then as today, it was doing a terrible job.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think yer guy is going to be stayin put, at least that's the word on the "street" Sorry.

Sorry Cinci, you'll have to put up wit him a while longer, Florida filler their job. And it wasn't yer guy

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No longer working at Enquirer, so find it hard to guage commenters' critiques om Hollis. Over the years, of course, reporters always had problems w/ editors -- seriously, is this anything new? I don't mean to minimize it, just wondering if it's somehow taken off in last 5- 10 years with journos complaining about editors? Any help out there among working journos?

5:13 PM  

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