Those awards mean nothing to Morning Call beancounters.
Wlazelak and Garlicki are two of between 25 and 30 reporters unceremoniously dumped on Friday after a week of tension. Most dismissed newsroom employees are seasoned veterans, some in their 50s. They include stalwarts like editorial board member Eric Chiles and reporter Sam Kennedy. I have few details because the smoke is still clearing.
Regular op-ed features are a thing of the past. Columnists Bill White and Paul Carpenter have survived, but their roles have changed. They will now engage in a "Head to Head" format on the editorial page. Who knows? If it sells papers, beancounters might insist they wear tights and start mudwrestling.
The paper will focus more attention on the young turks leading the charge in its interactive department. You know them, they're the ones responsible for the readers' forum I like so much. On a bright note, the paper is supposed to start linking to ... horrors ... fifteen regional indie blogs on a weekly rotation. That's flattering, but blogs can never replace real journalism. We can complement and criticize, but never usurp, their important role.
In Sam Zell's media empire, the slashes have been as deep and brutal as any Roman conqueror could inflict. According to Follow the Media, the Los Angeles Times has no publisher, no advertising director, no foreign editor, no editorial pages editor, no UN bureau chief, and has cut 150 newsroom workers. At The Chicago Tribune, the publisher and editor are both gone.
And so it goes.
We've all lost. We'll all suffer. Many important stories will remain untold. Many small voices will be stifled. That's dangerous to any form of democratic government. And is it really good business? Won't people refuse to pay more for less?