WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Reporters Protest Firing of Fellow Journalist

Jul 9, 2013

The Shop Talk panelists discuss the layoff of a 29-year veteran of the Peoria Journal Star and the response from some of his colleagues.

Jim Romenesko reported several of the newspaper’s reporters are withholding their bylines to protest Gatehouse Media’s decision to let go of metro/city editor Mike Cecil.  Romenesko quoted one reporter as saying the decision to layoff Cecil was “foolish” and “short-sighted.”

The PJ Star’s executive editor has said the paper is hiring two other reporters. While the Shop Talk panelists feel new reporters can energize a news room, they also believe a veteran can provide immeasurable assistance to young reporters.

The panelists point out a veteran who knows about the market and its history offers institutional knowledge that could take a new reporters years to obtain – if he/she manages to remain in the market and the business long enough.

The panelists also point out that Gatehouse has given hefty year-end bonuses to upper management personnel and feel that money could have instead been used to improve its papers.  The company’s decision to worship the bottom line above all else is bound to hurt morale in the newsroom.