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Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:06 am
by shinatoo
Digital newspapers were the promise of future when I was a kid. Better for the environment. Nostalgia is the only reason to keep print around. It shouldn't have any effect on content though. That's just management's inability to adapt quickly or be forward thinking.

Omaha Springfield and St. Louis all have excellent online news. No reason we shouldn't either.

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:25 pm
by kcjak
herrfrank wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:33 am
The February article from KCUR states that more than 50 journalists at The Kansas City Star were offered early retirement packages and roughly half accepted. It then goes on to describe a newsroom with "several score" of journalists remaining (so let's say 70 -- halfway between three score and four score).

If anything, I am surprised it still has 70 content-producers. To contrast, my local paper, the Palm Beach Post (150k print circulation on Sunday, 90k on weekdays -- older demographic), has about 35 content-producers. Maybe that seems incredible, but my other half is an editor there -- there are four or five editors, and they also write. Four layout people -- at least two write also. One in Obits, one in Classifieds. One writer for Boca, one for Jupiter, two more cover county and municipal. Something like five each for news and sports. It's extremely lean. Then there are another 15 or so people involved in production -- printing and distributing the thing. Add the sales staff to bring the total employee count to maybe 60. The Star has a total employee count of approx. 150 currently.

While it is sad that the Star has lost so many experienced people, what are those 70 people doing? I would expect a thick daily paper with dozens of articles every day. It's all so sad.
The number of employees is even more questionable when you realize that McClatchey runs the same digital stories across regional papers - many days the landing pages between the Eagle and Star are 50% the same.

I don't mind going to digital, but many elderly folks (including my parents) want the physical paper. Trying to get them trained on reading the news and accessing the classified ad and obits using large print while on their mobile phones is an ongoing lesson in futility. And then they have to remember to go to Target, Best Buy, Menards, etc. websites and find those weekly ads.

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:32 pm
by shinatoo
kcjak wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:25 pm
herrfrank wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:33 am
The February article from KCUR states that more than 50 journalists at The Kansas City Star were offered early retirement packages and roughly half accepted. It then goes on to describe a newsroom with "several score" of journalists remaining (so let's say 70 -- halfway between three score and four score).

If anything, I am surprised it still has 70 content-producers. To contrast, my local paper, the Palm Beach Post (150k print circulation on Sunday, 90k on weekdays -- older demographic), has about 35 content-producers. Maybe that seems incredible, but my other half is an editor there -- there are four or five editors, and they also write. Four layout people -- at least two write also. One in Obits, one in Classifieds. One writer for Boca, one for Jupiter, two more cover county and municipal. Something like five each for news and sports. It's extremely lean. Then there are another 15 or so people involved in production -- printing and distributing the thing. Add the sales staff to bring the total employee count to maybe 60. The Star has a total employee count of approx. 150 currently.

While it is sad that the Star has lost so many experienced people, what are those 70 people doing? I would expect a thick daily paper with dozens of articles every day. It's all so sad.
The number of employees is even more questionable when you realize that McClatchey runs the same digital stories across regional papers - many days the landing pages between the Eagle and Star are 50% the same.

I don't mind going to digital, but many elderly folks (including my parents) want the physical paper. Trying to get them trained on reading the news and accessing the classified ad and obits using large print while on their mobile phones is an ongoing lesson in futility. And then they have to remember to go to Target, Best Buy, Menards, etc. websites and find those weekly ads.
If there is demand for newspapers then keep printing them. If you need to raise the price to 4 bucks a day to justify the cost of materials and delivery do that. But, Mr. Newspaper man, don't tell me your financial woes are because of the internet. Adapt and grow.

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:36 pm
by kenrbnj
Based on the fact The Kansas City Star has elected to completely dismiss their Business desk; I regard the publication as only marginally relevant.

HerrFrank brings up a good point: Palm Beach Post (which I read when I am at the Delray house) is neighborhood-centric. They have an editorial desk for Palm Beach, another for Boynton/Delray, another for Bocca. ..ALL have a business section, a local interest section; etc. Moreover, the Palm Beach area competes with three other daily newspapers: The Sun Sentinnel (Fort Lauderdale) and the Miami Herald.

KC Star is alone in their region, consisting of 2.5M readers - at least.

..Of course, South Florida does have a ton of content to work with. All the kooks end up in S.FL; it seems.

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:52 pm
by shinatoo
Well, when I stay in the Hampton's I only read USA Today. But that because it's the only paper they have in the lobby. They don't even leave it in front of the door anymore.

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:19 am
by herrfrank
kenrbnj wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:36 pm
Based on the fact The Kansas City Star has elected to completely dismiss their Business desk; I regard the publication as only marginally relevant.

HerrFrank brings up a good point: Palm Beach Post (which I read when I am at the Delray house) is neighborhood-centric. They have an editorial desk for Palm Beach, another for Boynton/ Delray, another for Boca. ..ALL have a business section, a local interest section; etc. Moreover, the Palm Beach area competes with three other daily newspapers: The Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale) and the Miami Herald.

KC Star is alone in their region, consisting of 2.5M readers


Exactly. I don't get it. KC has an older demographic not unlike south Florida. The region has 2 million total households (6 million people), 500,000 (25%) of them pay for a print newspaper:

Palm Beach: PB Post has 150k print subscribers
Broward: Sun Sentinel has 135k print subscribers (and increasing per local reports)
Dade: Miami Herald has 160k, plus there are the Spanish language newspapers -- at least another 50k subscribers

KC has roughly one million households. The Star has 90k subscribers today, so less than 10% take the paper.

I think it is the dearth of articles that drives people away from the paper, not the other way around. All three of the South Florida daily papers are thick and full of news, sports, etc. While I can only speak for the PB Post, it also accomplishes this with half the staff of the shrunken KC Star.

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:07 am
by kboish
The Star seems to have shifted to a hyper click-baity, he-said she-said approach. Half of their stories are about what happened on Twitter the night before. Its the kind of approach TKC takes. I think the term is yellow-journalism. Most people get sick of this after awhile because its exhausting and incoherent if you're a regular reader (Outrage on all sides! Got one person to disagree with something via Twitter? Great, cite them in every article as evidence of the CONTROVERSY!!!!). It is also the most manipulable (hackable/corruptable?) version of journalism. Think how easily Trump controls narratives because he knows how newspapers report.

Certain sets of people are addicted to that kind of gossip page reporting...and thats what they're after, your clicks.

This combined with the god awful website show me they just aren't serious about providing useful information. When I try to read an article and 3/4 of the page are auto-plays and ads, i just shut it down half the time.

The media tries to claim a special untouchable status as the "4th estate". And I agree with the need for that role, but a profit-driven entity just ain't it. Their priorities are so out of whack. Individual journalist often ask us to disregard what the owner entity is doing and just recognize they are in it for the right reasons. I think I even heard a Publisher interviewed on KCUR describe a subscription as a "donation" to the good work of journalism. Uh, no. Your corporate overlord matters. The fact that certain journalists can't see that makes me even more suspect of their journalism.

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:35 pm
by smh
I think I may have said it elsewhere in this thread, but we really need a local non-profit competitor to the Star. Hire some of the diaspora. Near instant credibility.

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:32 pm
by chaglang
Absolutely. Steve Vockrodt needs more people to feud with. We can't expect Collison to do it all by himself.

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:31 pm
by beautyfromashes
Speaking of Star layoffs, can they start with Helling please?

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:18 pm
by Anthony_Hugo98
smh wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:35 pm
I think I may have said it elsewhere in this thread, but we really need a local non-profit competitor to the Star. Hire some of the diaspora. Near instant credibility.
CityScene KC?

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:39 pm
by kenrbnj
HerrFrank, the irony is that Knight-Ridder owns the KC Star -- as it does the Miami Herald.

I happen to agree wholeheartedly with you.

K-R is known for "centralized content" -- aggregating their material; distributing it to their dailies; adding a sprinkle of local content. Said differently; they skimp on the local stuff. If I want national content; I'll watch the talking heads on CNN/Fox/etc. People buy local to read local.

Another observation? The journalism is decidedly biased to the left.

Rather foolish; as it alienates the preponderance of the greater KC Metro Area; which tends to be right-of-center.

Even more foolish? The abandoned the Business section in favor of the POLITICS and OPINION sections. Want opinions? Go to Fox or go to CNN.

Odd trivia: My first job out of engineering school? Knight-Ridder Financial. ..It was on State Line Road in Leawood. The company was competing against Bloomberg and Reuters. Excellent company to work for as a 20-something. K-R decided the future of news delivery were daily newspapers. This was 1997. The story did not end well for poor KRF.

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:34 pm
by smh
Anthony_Hugo98 wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:18 pm
smh wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:35 pm
I think I may have said it elsewhere in this thread, but we really need a local non-profit competitor to the Star. Hire some of the diaspora. Near instant credibility.
CityScene KC?
I fully appreciate CityScene but I'm thinking more like and actual paper. A full on news organization that replaces the Star as the paper of record.

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:08 pm
by earthling
Would probably be better if the Star found a new owner. But not realistic.

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:36 pm
by chaglang
smh wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:34 pm
Anthony_Hugo98 wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:18 pm
smh wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:35 pm
I think I may have said it elsewhere in this thread, but we really need a local non-profit competitor to the Star. Hire some of the diaspora. Near instant credibility.
CityScene KC?
I fully appreciate CityScene but I'm thinking more like and actual paper. A full on news organization that replaces the Star as the paper of record.
IIRC the Star printing plant was built to make money on printing newspapers other than the Star. Just sayin’.

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:25 pm
by FangKC
kenrbnj wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:39 pm
HerrFrank, the irony is that Knight-Ridder owns the KC Star -- as it does the Miami Herald.
Knight-Ridder hasn't existed since 2006. It was bought by McClatchy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knight_Ridder

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:39 am
by smh
chaglang wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:36 pm
smh wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:34 pm
Anthony_Hugo98 wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:18 pm


CityScene KC?
I fully appreciate CityScene but I'm thinking more like and actual paper. A full on news organization that replaces the Star as the paper of record.
IIRC the Star printing plant was built to make money on printing newspapers other than the Star. Just sayin’.
Exactly!

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:47 am
by flyingember
chaglang wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:36 pm

IIRC the Star printing plant was built to make money on printing newspapers other than the Star. Just sayin’.
Remember they sold the printing plant. They just have a lease on the building now.

https://www.kcur.org/post/kc-star-sells ... n#stream/0

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:04 am
by chaglang
Forgot that they laid off the printing plant.

Re: Layoffs at The Star

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:04 am
by kenrbnj
FangKC wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:25 pm
kenrbnj wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:39 pm
HerrFrank, the irony is that Knight-Ridder owns the KC Star -- as it does the Miami Herald.
Knight-Ridder hasn't existed since 2006. It was bought by McClatchy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knight_Ridder
Yeah -- the joke was: "So Tony Ridder could buy his third Ferrari."

Tony's father was THE MAN. He built the empire. Tony Ridder, per the executives of KRF Leawood and 75 Wall Street -- was a spoiled child.