Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Two of Five W's Laid Off: Cutback Attributed to Declining Staff

xxxxx CORTEZ, Fla.: In order to save money, a newspaper executive in central Florida has announced layoffs within the ranks of the profession’s revered Five W’s.
xxxxx “We’re starting by eliminating 'when,' which can often be ignored entirely without losing story value,” said the owner and publisher of Cortez Town Bugler.
xxxxx Publisher Katharine Beecher attributed the cutback to the high cost of ink, paper, and staff training.
xxxxx “Certainly by eliminating 'when,' we’ll use that much less ink and paper. Over the course of a year, it adds up,” she said. “It’s also a challenge to train everybody in these five things and get them to remember them all, all the time. We figure on halving our training expenses and moving deadlines up 15 minutes by not requiring all five W’s from reporters in the first place,” she said.
xxxxx “Yes, another great newspaper tradition, lost to the ages,” she said.
xxxxx Although the first to garner wide spread attention for the ink- and paper-saving move, she notes her paper is following an established business model.
xxxxx “Down there in DeSoto, John Lawhorne has been omitting 'when' for years and nobody complained. We figured since nobody noticed, cutting 'when' could be the first to go, with 'where' probably next on the list of things we'll have to do without,” she said.
xxxxx The remaining W’s, “who,” “what,” and “why,” will have to carry the story, she said. “In fact, 'why' is almost completely extinct in broadcast journalism. And nobody noticed that, either."

Friday update: I rest my case.

City balks at offer for abandoned stockyard
By JOHN LAWHORNE STAFF WRITER DESOTO COUNTY — The Arcadia City Council balked when a Canadian businessman offered to purchase the old Arcadia Stockyard property north of Arcadia off U.S. Highway 17. The defunct stockyard was owned and operated by the state until two years ago, when the state returned the property to the city. Businessman Roger Penner offered to buy the 7-acre property, which is being used for equipment storage, for $51,000. He said the property was assessed at $141,570. The rotting pens, he noted, were not worth much. “I don’t think we can do anything until we get an appraisal,” Mayor Dick Fazzone said. Jason Henbest, sitting in for City Attorney William Galvano, noted that any offer for the property would require the city to advertise. “Someone may make you a better offer,” he said. First to balk at a sale was Councilman Dr. Roosevelt Johnson. “Are we ready to sell that property?” he asked. “I don’t think that I am.” Johnson said he was not against renting the property out. “I don’t think it would be an advantage to us to sell it at this point, especially for $51,000.” Council member Lorenzo Dixon said he agreed with Johnson, noting that with the old buildings, the land was worth $415,000. He pointed out a nearby business had paid $725,000 for its property. “So we know that the stockyard land is worth more than $51,000.” The council declined to accept Penner’s offer. Interim City Administrator Joe Fink then asked the council to listen to Arcadia Realtor Mac Martin’s proposal for future development of the stockyard property. “Would the City Council consider the possibility of a joint effort with the city, county, school board(s) and the community to redevelop the old livestock property into a cultural center that will benefit the citizens of Arcadia and DeSoto County for generations to come?” Martin asked. Martin noted there is no public place in DeSoto County with the appropriate seating, lighting and acoustics for pageants, orchestral concerts or theatrical performances. “The schools’ ‘cafetoriums’ (combination cafeteria and auditorium) are functional,” he said. “The Turner Center is great for large gatherings, but they cannot provide the type of atmosphere that enhances these fine arts activities.” Before making a decision to turn the stockyard property over to private use, Martin asked the council to consider conducting a workshop with all the parties mentioned, to discuss the idea of building a cultural center on the site. No immediate action was taken by the council on Martin’s suggestion


  1. The Ghost of Journalism PresentThu Feb 19, 09:04:00 AM

    I once read (sorry I don't remember the source) that sarcasm is the last tool of a disgusted populace and the loyal opposition.

    Nicely done OWW.

  2. This tongue-in-cheek would be hilarious if it weren't for the fact that news reporting at the DeSoto Sun has become soooooo sad.

  3. Sad that there is no sophistication or intellectual curiosity at any level at SCMG. No one there would even get this.

  4. Regarding the "Rest your case" folo. I wonder how it is that even after you point out an obvious and consistent omission it doesn't change?
    This is true from the inside also. Pointing out plagiarism, conflicts of interest and poor writing to name just a few things is meaningless. Nothing changes and as a result of that the business suffers by declining circulation and advertising.

  5. Must be that the higher-ups are in deep, deep denial. They've never tackled the issue of plagiarism and incompetence. Now they can say they are tanking because of the economy without having to accept any responsibility for their bad hiring/management practices.

  6. Anon #2 is correct. I used to work at there and management did not want to hear about any problems or do anything to make the paper better. They seemed to take any criticism of anything as a personal affront.

  7. Seeing more and more of "us" who escaped from prison camp SCMG #17, perhaps we should start an club.

  8. Or our own paper...