Daily Archives: April 12, 2009

Old habit

When the LAF household renewed its AJC subscription last week, it was a classic act of faith, hope and a hint of charity.  The newspaper is no longer indispensible.  Rather, it’s an old habit.  During baseball season, the habit starts with the sports page.  And with a new pro baseball team in town — the Gwinnett Braves — the act of faith was that the AJC, while shrinking its coverage everyplace, would add a beat reporter to metro Atlanta’s most significant new sports franchise since the Thrashers.

But on the same day that the LAF household was renewing, the AJC was cutting more staff.  This blog has done a poor job of chronicling the newspaper’s numerous spasms — sorry about that — but other blogs have done better.  One is CB Hackworth’s newsy media / events blog called Certain Speculation.  Once an investigative producer at WXIA and WSB, Hackworth produces Andy Young documentaries and may be best known for giving the best Emmy acceptance speech ever (“I want to thank my ex-wife for divorcing me 15 years ago. I’m here with someone much nicer”).

Hackworth reports that the AJC has run out of staff reduction volunteers and had to enact “involuntary separations” last week.  He says the staff figured it out the hard way:

  • … the newspaper’s entire graphics department was wiped out.   I’m told there was no announcement at all.   Suddenly, reporters just began to realize no one in graphics was, well, in graphics.  Although that’s just four people, the effect was devastating not just for those individuals but for the entire staff. The move was completely unexpected, and the lack of communication jarring.  The experience has left many, if not most, extremely distrustful of management.

Hackworth’s blog also has an amusing Jim Wooten Retirement Countdown Clock on its home page. He also writes about politics and such.  And there’s this gossipy Atlanta TV bit:

  • One of local television’s best known and most recognizable personalities has been told to accept a massive pay cut if he wants to keep his job — despite research that gives him consistently high approval ratings among viewers.

If Hackworth gives us some blogger competition on the local TV news front, we’re completely OK with that.  He may wish to start by writing about the local TV station that’s asking its entire staff to take a ten percent pay cut this year — and the contractually-bound anchors who agreed to it even though they didn’t have to.

Too bad Hackworth doesn’t cover baseball.  After the LAF household renewed its subscription, it became apparent that the AJC won’t cover Atlanta’s new AAA baseball team with anything beyond novelty treatment.  The new team’s first series in Charlotte got scant wire service coverage in its hometown newspaper.