Recovering Journalist on “The Cleveland Kerfuffle,” McClatchy editors on discomfort

I do hate that word “kerfuffle” but it certainly applies.

From Mark Potts, at the Recovering Journalist:

…Jeff [Jarvis] has a terrific post on the fiasco in Cleveland in which the Plain Dealer hired some partisan bloggers (good idea) and then fired one when he got a bit too partisan (bad idea).

The resulting fallout, as well-documented and analyzed by Jeff, is amusing and sad—a classic case of a newspaper so stuck in the old ways of doing things that it shoots itself in the foot when it ventures into something new. The paper’s management has rolled itself into a defensive ball over something that shouldn’t have been an issue in the first place, making things worse in the process, and naturally, the controversy is rife with hypocrisy and ignorance on the part of the paper’s leaders.

Anyway, go read Jeff’s post. I’ll get back to my series on what newspapers should be doing to survive in a couple of days. But suffice it to say that what the Plain Dealer is doing is an object lesson on what not to do. [emphasis mine]

Is it ojbect or abject? Or either?

Then, Potts links to this piece at the McClatchy editors’ blog, Etaoin Shrdlu (I have no idea what that’s about – something very insider journalist??), called, “Feeling Uncomfortable Yet?”:

And by now you may also have learned that one of those opinion bloggers once got fired by the politician she’s now criticizing, or that the guy co-hosting the Outdoors blog was convicted of hunting out of season 14 years ago, or that …. well, you get the drift.

Are you feeling uncomfortable yet?

If not, I’m worried about you. If you’re not squirming in uncertainty from time to time nowadays, you must not be close enough to the edge. In response to a question in the Sacramento Bee newsroom last week, Melanie Sill said, “If you’re in a newsroom and the editor doesn’t say that change is needed, you should leave.” I think that same sentiment applies to our need to loosen up, let go of some control and learn to play by the changing rules of the new game we’re in.

You know, that idea – that people most often seek mental health intervention only after they’ve become so uncomfortable that they can no longer exist – is very applicable here.

If you were a behavioral organization management guru, what would you say to the Plain Dealer?

5 thoughts on “Recovering Journalist on “The Cleveland Kerfuffle,” McClatchy editors on discomfort

  1. Does the fact that you know that make you a journalist? Or make me one, now that I know it?

    (that’s a joke – thanks for filling me in! I didn’t take the time to google it lol)

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  3. Shalom Jill,

    It’s kind of like why some of us put “30″ at the end of our copy.

    ETAOIN SHRDLU is the approximate order of frequency of the twelve most commonly used letters in the English language, best known as a nonsense phrase that sometimes appeared in print in the days of “hot type” publishing due to a custom of Linotype machine operators.

    B’shalom,

    Jeff

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