Thursday, February 10, 2011

Suicidal newspaper management

We’re still reeling from the news that our friend Lauri Shillings, who is arguably the best ad designer in Indiana and a brilliant graphic artist, got cashiered yesterday by the Crawfordsville Journal Review. lauri mug

That was a day after they canned another brilliant and loyal newspaper man, Kevin Cothron.

This was after Lauri spent a week or so driving through hellish winter weather to make sure the paper got published, even bringing her two young sons along because their school was snowed out. They called it a layoff and said it was for economic reasons. No severance package. Just clean out your desk and get out.

It was the most clueless, moronic, idiotic, suicidal – I could go on for an hour – management decision I’ve ever heard of. The malignant imbeciles (owner and publisher) who made this decision clearly have no idea how their own newspaper works and how crucial Lauri’s skills and dedication were to the day-to-day operation.

S/W Ver: 96.B0.0FRI have no doubt that Lauri will get a call this week or next from someone at the paper wanting to know how to do this thing or the other. I hope she puts on her consultant hat and makes them pay through the nose for the information. Or else just hangs up on them.

The good news is that Lauri said she woke up this morning with a feeling of liberation. I imagine it was the same feeling I experienced after I walked away from Gannett wage slavery at The Indianapolis Star. Her time is her own. No more deadline pressure and the humiliation of having to suffer fools. Her husband Jim recently went through a substantial career upgrade and now Lauri’s opportunity is here.

Staying at the Journal Review would have meant more frustration, insufficient pay, insufficient respect, and the depressing prospect of watching criminally incompetent management put the ship on the rocks. It’s a sad, sad thing to see a once great newspaper die. I watched it happen to my paper, The Indianapolis News. Gannett is slowly killing The Star, and the Journal Review’s days are surely numbered.

Lauri will have the last laugh.


Karen said...

Gannett and it's passive aggressive, abusive managers are also killing the J&C. And chasing away a lot of talented people.

Kevin said...

Outstanding post about an outstanding lady. It is sad to see talented people have to pay the price for years of mismanagement and greed in the news industry.

Howard Hewitt said...

The ownership - PTS - Smith Newspapers, Arkansas - have followed this same pattern since buying the newspaper. I was fired with no notice, no severance more than 9 years ago. There have been many, many others. It's also interesting to note that the vast majority of those fired are always over age 40, and near the top of the pay scales - anyone see a pattern.