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.

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About live apt fire

Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

8 thoughts on “Old habit

  1. formernewsaddict

    NO, that post wasn’t pointless .. a lot of us care. Good, bad, or middling, a newspaper connects a community in ways the internet cannot. And it just isn’t the same starting the day curled up in a chair with a cup of coffee and the computer.

  2. daryll Smith

    The publisher of the Macon daily had an amusing opine in this Sunday’s paper. It sounded like something from the sales department’s media kit on why newspaper is still relevant and readers are oh so plentiful. Wonder how many readers will quote his catchy stats to their family and friends? Would/should Channel 2’s GM Bill Hoffman appear on Action News to tell/sell viewers/advertisers about WSB’s continued dominance?

    So which station is asking for the 10% give back? Inquiring minds want to know….

  3. Don B

    God, I love newspapers. When they go away, most of the real investigative reporting goes away with them. That’s scary. Tv investigations pretty much sux. Most get lawyer-ed to death. Don’t want to make anybody mad. They and their friends might not watch. Just where is Dale Cardwell when you need him?

  4. daryll

    Did both of you newspaper loyalists lament the extinction of the rotary dial phone or the 8-Track tape, too? Time and technology marches on. An iPhone and a morning cup of java is so 21st century. However, nothing says investigation quite like the vaunted Fox 5 I-Team. Dana, Dale and Randy are simply the best on Atlanta television, maybe in America.

  5. formernewsaddict

    I work in television news, on computers, creating my own graphics and supers, selecting the video (sometimes as it’s feeding) without ever leaving my desk. I’m fully immersed in the new century and all its technological glory, and just as seduced by its lures as any cost-cutting, techno-geek manager. That said .. it makes me sad, and, not a little fearful, that in the mad embrace of all that’s new and shiny and fast!, we are carelessly throwing away our journalistic traditions and history and the very foundations that have supported, challenged, scolded, and informed our society for centuries.
    And yes .. I treasure and jealously guard starting my day with the paper and multiple cups of coffee.

  6. Claude

    We don’t necessarily need newspapers, but we do need journalism. Newspapers do more investigative reporting and more detailed reporting than television and radio. Too much of broadcast news is just waiting for people to stand in front of a microphone and make a public comment.


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