Sunday, March 15, 2009

JinC “Reaches Out” To Sacbee Editor Melanie Sill

Long-time JinC Regulars will recall Melanie Sill was executive editor of McClatchy’s liberal/leftist Raleigh N&O before moving in October 2007 to the same position at what was then McClatchy’s flagship paper, the Sacramento Bee.

Sacbee’s now hemorrhaging readers and revenue; and laying off employees.

In her column today - - A tough week leads readers to respond - - Sill’s forced to acknowledge Sacbee’s in trouble.

But then she spins “the outpouring of reader support” line many editors are now using to fog over the depth and extent of their problems and to suggest to readers they should join “the outpouring.”

Here’s some of what Sill said, followed by a comment I’ve just left on her column thread.

According to Sill - - -

... As readers have absorbed what's happening to newspapers, many have responded by calling or e-mailing with suggestions for how The Bee could weather the bad times.

A few said they'd pay considerably more than our current subscription rates.

Bill Timmons, who retired from the California State Railroad Museum and lives in south Sacramento, phoned to suggest we set up a way for subscribers to pay extra for Bee journalism until the recession eases.

Other readers have said they prefer our Web site to the print paper but want to help fund our reporting.

That's easy to do: Take the electronic subscription at $1 a week. You will get access to our e-edition, which is a searchable, indexed version of the print edition; go to Print subscribers get the e-edition free; call (916) 650-2847 for help.

I've seen more innovation in journalism thinking and practices in the past year – some in old media, some in new media and some from nonprofits and think tanks – than in my 30-year career before that. …

Sill’s entire column’s here.

Now my comment which, while not part of “the outpouring,” “reaches out” to Sill with some advice.

Dear Melanie,

You say a reader renewed her subscription because: "The Sacramento Bee may not be exactly the paper I want it to be, but it is the paper in our community, and we should support it."

Using the same logic: "Pravda many not be exactly the paper I want it to be, but it is the paper in our community, and we should support it."

You need to come up with something better.

Try this: "Sacbee's liberal/leftist tilt may not be exactly what you want in a newspaper, but it's what we know is best for you, so you should support us."

John in Carolina


Anonymous said...

John, rather than call The N&O "liberal/leftist" every time, why don't you occasionally throw a curve ball and call it "leftist/liberal"?

That'll certainly keep them on their toes.

Locomotive Breath said...

Instead of on their toes, they need to be on the bread line.

Anonymous said...

Poor Anon 8:07,

That bad, bad JinC has made you mad.

Go home and tell Mommy Troll all about it.

Then you'll feel better and can take a nice nap.

Anonymous said...

To the 8.07:
If John upsets you so, there's a simple solution.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

Not mad. Just bored bored bored.

Dennis Rogers said...

I probably shouldn't be but I am nonetheless amazed at the cruelty and mean spirits displayed on this website. You may or may not like the N&O, its employees or Melanie Sill but to wish them and their families the suffering and strain of unemployment is simply beyond the pale. I vehemently disagree with most of what appears on this blog, but I would never wish ill to those who support it.
N&O people are not privileged elites. They work hard for middle class salaries. Not only are they the writers and editors who work hard to throw crooks like Jim Black and Meg Scott Phipps in prison, they are people who sweep floors, take care of administration, drive trucks, maintain equipment and a hundred other skills. They're honest, hard working people who don't deserve to be thrown out to the cheers of those on this blog.
You should be ashamed of yourselves, but from what I've seen, I doubt you. And unlike you cowards, I will sign my name to my words, as I did for 31 years.

Dennis Rogers, N&O columnist 1976-2007

Anonymous said...

Dennis Rogers is shocked at the mean spirits and cruelty displayed on this blog. Well, well, well. Where should I begin? Sure, there are biting remarks directed at elitist leftwing ideologues who have taken over the mainstream media; but how does Dennis react to the vicious, intemperate, libelous, nasty, mean-spirited remarks made by clowns like Harry Reid, Upchuck Schumer, "Come Fly With Me" Pelosi, Jack Murtha, Rahm Emanuel, James Carville, and their ilk? The lies and distortions hurled against George Bush and his administration were not patty-cake, Dennis. The tenor of political discourse in this country was set by the leftwing ideologues who are cheered on by Dennis' pals in the MSM like Maureen Dowd. May I suggest to Dennis if he wants to experience shock and awe, just spend time reading the editorial pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the N&O.
I thought columnists had thicker skin than that Dennis. Poor baby. And he's so brave using his name. I guess he's never had his tires slashed.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

Anger in Raleigh
The latest word out of Raleigh is that anger is building over the dysfunctional and destructive way the cuts are being managed. A tipster informs me mangers at the News & Observer were recently told nothing would happen for two weeks. Then, corporate called -- as late as this morning -- and ordered the plan into effect.

Firings are expected to commence sometime this week, under a "last hired, first fired" policy.

Staff believe the news gathering operation at the N&O will be damaged because some of the last hired writers are the best writers and are the most productive.

The mood at the N&O is said to be "mutinous." The source says people are openly talking about seceding from McClatchy since the N&O is making a profit. Resentment at the corporate decision makers is off the charts.

"If Pruitt was to show his face here I doubt he would make it out of the building in one piece," the source said.
Announcement at the Raleigh News & Observer later today (updated)
An emailer informs me the News & Observer will make an announcement today.

Apparently packages are going out to everybody.

Management wants to see if some people will fall on their sword first before they start axing people.

Another commenter says some packages are involuntary.

UPDATE #2: 78 positions?

Anonymous said...

Hi Dennis,

I see you haven't changed.

BTW - what about all the work the N&O did to help Mike Nifong put those Duke boys in jail?

You forgot to mention that.

I see on another post John provides a sample of your journalism and says he's going to respond to you.

I can't wait.

See ya'

Anonymous said...

Give DR some props - he wrote clearly and did sign his name. A nice change from the "anonymous source" journalism we've come to expect from the MSM.

You know the drill: we have layers of editors making sure the sources are telling the truth.

Jee, I wish I had a degree in Journalism!


ryanpaige said...

I was amazed at the cruelty and mean spirits exhibited by the News and Observer (and Dennis Rogers in particular) when it came to the Duke Lacrosse case.

The job of a journalist (columnists included) is to seek the truth. The truth. Not the convenient truth. Not the truth that serves the narrative you wish to call attention to. Not the truth only so far as it serves your world view or the story you want to tell.

Did you ever once consider what your casual disregard for the truth meant, not only to those who were falsely accused of a crime that never happened, but also to those who have to work that much harder to regain the public's trust that you so casually threw away with your blatant disregard for facts and reality?

Those people who work so hard for middle class salaries - who sweep the floors and drive trucks and do all the other things to bring the news to the public? They were all counting on you and other journalists at your paper to be honest, and you just couldn't be bothered.

And now the ship is sinking, and it's at least partially your fault, Mr. Rogers. Shouldn't you be crafting a heartfelt apology to them rather than chastising the lot of us for finding some degree of justice in the current mess your former paper now finds itself in?

Perhaps had you and your colleagues handled the story in an honest fashion (actually reporting rather than printing some half-remembered claim from someone who was provably lying), perhaps had you been appropriately outraged at the corruption in Durham during this case, maybe we'd all be joining in lamenting the precarious position the N&O now finds itself in.

Of course, maybe if the N&O had those kinds of reporters working there back in 2006, they wouldn't be in quite as precarious a situation now.

Ryan Paige