Moonsigns  |  BandGuide  |  Blogs  |  Adult
Boston  |  Portland  |  Providence

Who's staying, who's going at the ProJo?

I'll have more detailed coverage later in the week, but here's some of the immediate local reaction to today's news about the pending buyout offers that will seek to eliminate 54 jobs at the Providence Journal.

While similar cuts have become routine in the troubled newspaper industry, some reporters were still taken by surprise by the latest development, which is bound to have a severe effect on the ProJo's journalistic capability.

"It certainly is demoralizing," says one reporter. "As it stands, we're already working so hard and still not getting to all the news we should. Cut ten, 15, maybe 20 people out of that mix? I can't even imagine. Even worse is to consider some of the names that might go. They're people who are the real heart and soul of the place, and they're not easily replaced. If we lose too many of the real stars at once, it could take years to recover."

Here's a rundown on the outlook for some senior staffers.

A source indicates that Kathy Gregg, the Journal's longtime State House bureau chief, will not consider the buyout.

Metro columnist Bob Kerr, 63, says that he'd like to work indefinitely, but that he will feel compelled to consider the buyout. "I don't want to have to be told, 'If you stay, then some promising young reporter has to go,' " Kerr says. "I hope it doesn't come to that yet."

Political reporter Scott MacKay says, "You've got to think about it given the state of the industry. It's something a lot of veteran reporters are going to have to think seriously about."

Medical reporter Felice Freyer says she can't possibly even consider it, because she's can't afford it, and that a lot of people who might otherwise be logical choices to take the buyout won't do so, because "people don't feel like there are other opportunities out there for them."

Political columnist M. Charles Bakst, who had previously been thinking about retiring next year, says of the buyout, "I am definitely considering it."

The Providence Newspaper Guild has scheduled an informational meeting about the buyout at 1 pm Wednesday. The Journal is slated to hold its own information meeting an hour later, according to Guild president John Hill.

  • old timer said:

    Baskt better take the money and run.  He is so out of touch it's sad. Buy the condo in Florida near Sox training camp and make a few bucks taking tickets at the park.  You'll get to see the games for free.

    July 28, 2008 8:35 PM
  • joe bernstein said:

    "for free"-words to Charley like worms to a carp

    July 28, 2008 10:42 PM
  • Ian Donnis said:

    People are bound to have their likes and dislikes when it comes to reporters and columnists. It's unfortunate, though, that more of those commenting from a partisan perspective don't recognize this as a further running-down (as is the case in scores of other cities) of an important civic institution.

    July 29, 2008 9:06 AM
  • joe bernstein said:

    Ian-seriously,did you bemoan the loss of jobs for thousands of linotypists when printing newspapers went digital?A lot of things pass when their usefulness is over.Except for trolley cars and medicinal leeches,it doesn't look like many are making a comeback.

    July 29, 2008 3:34 PM
  • Ian Donnis said:

    Joe, I recognize the march of technology. However, there remains a need for reporters to watchdog public and private institutions.

    July 29, 2008 4:27 PM
  • joe bernstein said:

    Yes,Ian,no argument from me-it's the activity of a free press that is important,and not so much the medium.

    Network TV hasn't the time to do good in depth stuff it seems.

    Cable has a lot more "bandwidth"(I am sure someone will correct me),and so far they've been wasting it on tabloid crap.But the tools are there.

    Obviously,we are talking about the Internet as the substitute for "real"papers.It has madehuge inroads,but I don't think newspapers will disappear entirely,particularly Sunday editions.

    Don't you think the papers cut their own throats by going with online editions that don't get soaked in the rain or land in dogshit?

    July 29, 2008 6:22 PM
  • Ian Donnis said:

    No one has figured it out, Joe. Part of the difficulty is how news consumers have come to expect news for free. As I point out in my forthcoming story this week, combined print and online circulation for most papers remains as high as the old print-only total, but they're making a lot less money, because Internet ads are cheaper and less profitable.

    July 30, 2008 9:02 AM
  • Ted said:

    If only we were talking about reporters and not columnists I might care about the degradation of the newsroom at the Projo.  Ziner hasn't written a NEWS story the whole time she's been at the Projo and I certainly won't bemoan the day her 'activist journalism' leaves the newsfloor.  And she's just one easy example of reporters with agendas at the Projo.

    July 30, 2008 12:42 PM
  • rhody said:

      Oh no, not the Reporters with Agendas Rag again.

      Ted, let's you and I tuck the liberal mainstream media myth under the covers and turn out the light.

    July 30, 2008 1:04 PM
  • Ted said:

    Are you asserting that Karen Lee Ziner is a straight-down-the-middle reporter who just tells the story without any personal agendas?

    July 30, 2008 1:31 PM
  • Not For Nothing said:

    In the aftermath of informational meetings held separately yesterday by the Providence Newspaper Guild

    July 31, 2008 9:49 AM

Leave a Comment

Login | Not a member yet? Click here to Join


Monday, October 13, 2008  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2008 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group