My collegues, Phil Meyer and Jock Lauterer, were two of the guests on yesterday’s State of Things call-in discussion show on WUNC. They were joined by Ken Ripley of the Spring Hope Enterprise. Along with them was, Robert Ashley, the new editor for the now-Paxton-run Durham Herald-Sun who had, as Rickie Ricardo would say, “Some ‘splanin’ to do.” The Paxton Group recently took over the Herald Sun and immediately and without ceremony canned over 20% of the staff from top to bottom.
I, like many of you, listened to the show in the WUNC SoT Archives as I was in a very exciting faculty retreat almost all day yesterday.
I did catch the end of the show during the evening rerun. Enough to hear Phil challenge newspapers to get out and make mistakes, to take audacious chances and to change the business. This was in a response to a call from “David from Greensboro” who asked if the Herald Sun might follow the Greensboro News and Record’s ground breaking staff blogging effort.
Ruby has some comments on this and other parts of the show on OrangePolitics.org
On listening to the archives, I’ve been enjoying Jock’s insights into the odd space that the Herald Sun occupies. Jock says that the Durham newspaper market is like a teenager — not quite a full grown daily and a community newspaper. Sometimes it shows itself off, flexing its muscles, then it panics and retreats to smaller more local behavior.
Phil Meyer is as deep and insightful as always describing the odd travels of newspapers over the past few decades esspecially the changing advertising market and the changing nature and competition in classifieds.
During call-ins, resourceful Fiona Morgan of the Independent makes up for the fact that Ashley wouldn’t return her calls. She jumps into the fray quickly naming names of those who were let go — more that Ashley had confessed to. He split hairs on who was a reporter and who wasn’t. The conversation turns to a discussion of news cartooning which Ashley (thinking now of Jock’s comment) says is no longer merited in a market the size of Durham. Jock also laments the firing of Ross Taylor the photographer. The gist seems to be that the paper is thinking like a small town paper (in Jock’s definition).
Today’s show will be Latino Media in North Carolina.