Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Growing anger at The Herald

As the effects of Monday's announcement of the 17% staff reduction at the Herald start to sink in, a growing number of Herald staffers are starting to voice concerns over what they see as inequities in the implementation of the cuts.

Some staffers have already been shown the door. One newly hired critic was seen cleaning out his desk Monday afternoon.

Gary Fineout of the Tallahassee bureau and 40 year veteran Phil Long of the Treasure Coast bureau, have been told their positions have been eliminated.

But several newsroom sources tell me that anger is growing over what they see as preferential treatment given to three newsroom managing editors whose positions have been eliminated but who have been offered alternative employment.

The three are Rich Hirsch, Managing Editor/Multimedia and Special Projects, Dave Wilson, Managing Editor/News and Liza Gross, Managing Editor/Presentation and Operations.

All three positions have been eliminated, but both Hirsch and Wilson will keep their jobs at the Herald and perform essentially the same duties.

Liza Gross, my sources say, will move to Washington and become a reporter in the McClatchy bureau on the World Desk. It's unknown if any of the three former managing editors will be taking a pay cut.

A memo, parts of which were read to me over the phone, is circulating among disenchanted staffers that calls for a meeting with executive editor Anders Gyllenhaal "to address...concerns and others that may be floating around."

"People are really pissed at what they see as special treatment given to these three," said a source. "It's just not fair."

Meanwhile, Herald publisher David Landsberg was quoted in a Herald story today: "We really believe the newspaper industry has a great future."

I wonder if some of those long-time employees who have spent a good deal of their professional lives at the Herald and are now being told they no longer have jobs would agree with that assessment.

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