Pan o Palo

Chapel Of Bones
January 14, 2009, 9:28 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Via the indespensable David Brauer, we get a first-hand account of the, ahem, mood inside Strib headquarters from reporter Bill McAuliffe.

The Freeman Building across the street has been dark for six months or more (looking all too much like the foreclosed-on properties around the city, only super-sized); there’s a sign on the second floor skyway connection saying you can’t get there anymore. The basement gets more abandoned furniture shoehorned into it every day – the work stations where people we knew well spent their days. I suppose since we can’t sell ad space we’re soon going to be selling used office furniture. There’s so much of it down there they’re having a hard time keeping the exits clear. It’s like the Chapel of Bones.

I do wish someone would remove the Peanuts statues from the park across the street, but the person who put them there probably thinks they’re morale boosters, even with their peeling paint. Though that person very well might be gone…

Meanwhile, we’ll have to figure out how to accomplish the work we think needs doing – once we decide what that is. More investigations? You betcha! But don’t we have to fill some suburban zone sections? Who’s going to cover for the copy editors and team leaders who are leaving or have left? So we rotate reporters into Terry Collins’ general assignment swing shift, or Bennie Cohen’s obituary job. That takes them off their regular duties for a day a week. Lost continuity, distraction, confused sources, missed or late stories – they will follow.

And yet. . .this is in some ways an exciting time and place. Blindly we’re trying to figure out new ways to present news and information – video, slide shows, audio, blogs, mobile functions. We hope people will notice and value it. Video is certainly not our strength and it’s not why I got in this business, but it can be goofy fun (kind of like blogging!) and ultimately maybe we’ll learn how to use it effectively. Meanwhile, it means trying to tell the same story in several different ways under continual deadlines. Sometimes it seems like we’ve just re-invented AM radio news and thought of it as a great advance, while adding ever more work to everybody’s load.

One can only hope that, which ever medium comes out of this, that we’ll have people as passionate and sincere as Bill to contine to relay the day’s events.


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Sad. I remember when our friend, Molly Ivins, worked for the STrib. In the cold months, she wore a stunning red wool coat, to the ankles with what I recall was the red hair – perhaps a slip of memory there. A short stay in MPLS, but a few years, and back to Texas.

“The first rule of holes: when you’re in one, stop digging.”

Comment by montanaheadcold

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