Feb 20, 2009

Switching off Mayor of Television*, **,***

I'm not sure if this means Daily News television critic David Kronke got laid off today, but he's saying goodbye to his "Mayor of Television" blog. Here's the final line:
Look out for mayoroftelevision.com soonish.
Editor Carolina Garcia did say Thursday night that the paper could no longer afford music and film critics. I guess she meant TV, too.

*Updated 2:30 p.m.: Kronke did indeed get laid off today.

**Updated 4:12 p.m.: I'm told film critic Bob Strauss will be moved to the news side, leaving Greg Hernandez (Out in Hollywood) as the newspaper's sole entertainment writer.

***Updated Feb. 21, 9:37 p.m.: Four other departures to report. The paper laid off photographer Andy Holzman and web producer Julio Morales. Picture editor Roxanne Kotzman and copy editor Sharon Kaplan took buyouts.

58 comments:

Newshound said...

Just another horrible move by the LANG wizards. Bob Strauss is a good, veteran critic and entertainment writer, and I'm sure he loved what he did.

Now he's forced over to news side, and they're probably telling him he's lucky to have a job.

Just another LANGer who went from loving his job to living for his paycheck.

Anonymous said...

The thing that gets me about this is that they're absolutely blowing up something that was beneficial to the chain -- and not just LANG.

How many paper's in MediaNews could have used the movie and television reviews and insight from Strauss and Kronke, without having to send people to LA or NY to get interviews and advance screenings? Or promoted their blogs to every Web site down the line.

Instead, they'll have a blogger who's more about the glitz and gossip and the issues from Hollywood that middle America still cringes about.

Ferchrissakes: All one needs to know about how good these blogs can be (and probably, even, money making) is to look at Rich Hammond's Kings' blog. That thing has readers from not just So Cal, but across the US and the World. And that's for a narrowly focused market group. How well could you do with TV and Movies to the rest of the country and world?

Another blown chance by a narrow-minded group of papers, who've been saddled with more debt that it's owner should have ever taken on.

Anonymous said...

Amen, brother!

Anonymous said...

I know that the guild is doing what it thinks is right for the members. As a non-guild employee that voluntarily left the paper last week I want to tell you that they ARE NOT. When a publication such as the LA Daily news gets down to so few people the goal should be to keep the best and the most talented.

But thanks to the guild that is not what is happening. They are fighting to keep people based only on the fact that they have been there "forever". In my opinion they are going to have a hand in killing the Daily News and LANG. As guilty as you all think publishers and owners are the guild has just as much blood on it's hands. SHAME ON YOU!!!

Anonymous said...

I know that the guild is doing what it thinks is right for the members. As a non-guild employee that voluntarily left the paper last week I want to tell you that they ARE NOT. When a publication such as the LA Daily news gets down to so few people the goal should be to keep the best and the most talented.

But thanks to the guild that is not what is happening. They are fighting to keep people based only on the fact that they have been there "forever". In my opinion they are going to have a hand in killing the Daily News and LANG. As guilty as you all think publishers and owners are the guild has just as much blood on it's hands. SHAME ON YOU!!!


There's some misinformation at work here. The Daily News contract doesn't protect seniority, so what are you talking about? Have you ever even read the contract?

Even if they wanted to "fight" about it, they couldn't.

But you raise an interesting point - how would keeping experienced staffers (like Kronke) hurt the company? What benefit is there to the paper if the company looks at costs before skill?

I'd say they've made plenty of decisions that place costs over skill. Look where that's gotten us.

Anonymous said...

I know that the guild is doing what it thinks is right for the members. As a non-guild employee that voluntarily left the paper last week I want to tell you that they ARE NOT. When a publication such as the LA Daily news gets down to so few people the goal should be to keep the best and the most talented.

But thanks to the guild that is not what is happening. They are fighting to keep people based only on the fact that they have been there "forever". In my opinion they are going to have a hand in killing the Daily News and LANG. As guilty as you all think publishers and owners are the guild has just as much blood on it's hands. SHAME ON YOU!!!


There's some misinformation at work here. The Daily News contract doesn't protect seniority, so what are you talking about? Have you ever even read the contract?

Even if they wanted to "fight" about it, they couldn't.

But you raise an interesting point - how would keeping experienced staffers (like Kronke) hurt the company? What benefit is there to the paper if the company looks at costs before skill?

I'd say they've made plenty of decisions that place costs over skill. Look where that's gotten us.

Anonymous said...

My comment was not directed at Kronke. They should have absolutely kept him. I think maybe you might not be connected with what was going on over the past week at the DN. And how the decisions were being made and the refusal of the guild to allow certain people to be let go due to seniority.

I don't want to mention specific names but you can look at the copy desk non-volunteers and photo non-volunteers and try to figure it out on your own. I know exactly what I'm talking about.

Anonymous said...

My comment was not directed at Kronke. They should have absolutely kept him. I think maybe you might not be connected with what was going on over the past week at the DN. And how the decisions were being made and the refusal of the guild to allow certain people to be let go due to seniority.

I don't want to mention specific names but you can look at the copy desk non-volunteers and photo non-volunteers and try to figure it out on your own. I know exactly what I'm talking about.


And again, I'm telling you that the union can't force the company to keep senior staff if they don't want to. As you pointed out, the people who took the buyouts, yourself included, were volunteers. The union didn't make any of those people take the buyout. The union has NO ability to "refuse to allow" the company to pick which employees they lay off. None whatsoever.

Does the union think experience should count for something? Absolutely. Experience and loyalty should be rewarded, and beyond that, years on the job create employees with deeper skill sets than first year J-School grads have. That's not a dig at the new hires, it's an acknowledgment that we never stop learning or getting better at our jobs.

But believing that experience is valuable isn't the same thing as having the power to make the folks in charge follow your wishes. The company has the unimpeachable right to pick whomever they want when it comes to layoffs. It's written in black and white for anyone to see. The most the union can do is try to sway their decision and ask for consideration, NOT set terms and demands.

If you think seniority means anything at Woodland Hills, the next few days might change your mind. You'll see exactly what I'm talking about.

Anonymous said...

So, the union is useless...what does sway their decision mean? They do what they want, period.

Anonymous said...

So, the union is useless...what does sway their decision mean? They do what they want, period.

If you think the only options are that unions either run the company, or they're useless, then sure our union is worthless.

Adults understand the idea of working together and discussing the issues. It's called "negotiating."

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing that out. Negotiating usually is a give and take exercise...this goes one and it is not in the union's favor. Frankly, I have nothing against unions and their mission. This poker game has a stacked deck.

Anonymous said...

I am not talking about first year J-school grads. And I'm not in anyway saying that anyone was forced to take a buyout.

What I am saying is just because you have been at the company for many years does not mean that you are growing and maturing with the industry. Some people are seriosly stagnate and not able to adjust to the needs of the newspaper, they are simply NOT the best people just because they have experience.

Many with experience are the best people and should absolutely be kept for as long as possible. But I saw a very talented and innovative person leave because the union would not budge on the name the manager wanted on the "list" and the reason was seniority. That's all I'm saying...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing that out. Negotiating usually is a give and take exercise...this goes one and it is not in the union's favor. Frankly, I have nothing against unions and their mission. This poker game has a stacked deck.

That's the truth. If you're not an executive, you're gonna get raked over the coals. And the last thing we need is to fight with each other. That HELPS medianews!

This union does things I don't like. No group is perfect. But I know which one is trying to help, and which one is just trying to put their grubby slimy fingers into my waistband so they can pull my pants down and bend me over.

We all need to work together if we want to have any chance at all because the deck IS stacked against us. All of us standing together isn't a guarantee of victory, But us standing apart and taking each other down is a one way path to unemployment.

Anonymous said...

to feb. 21 and 8:16 a.m.
get your facts straight. the folks who left last week left VOLUNTARILY and of their own accord. No one held a gun. They were given a choice. In fact, as someone who has watched this whole thing unfold, it's actually been GUILD members all along that have been canned. Not non-guild.
The sad thing in all of this is the cutting period. as far as having a hand in killing it, Lang doesn't need any help. they are doing it all by their self.

Anonymous said...

AND, after looking at lao and talking to folks, the non guild names i read all left on their own volition. get your fact straight. you actually sound like a bitter ex-langer. don't be a HATER.

Anonymous said...

Even if your name is on the building it is hard to control your destiny today, much less if you work there whether an executive or not. An exec may have a seat at the table but exec's get tossed too, not the poor ones, usually the ones who speak out. Take a look at some of the talent that was there in the last couple of years ineditorial or business...long gone. What mostly remains or the stooges of those in charge who would break their noses if their so called leader stopped short.

MNG is not long for this world and the same is true for much better run newspapers than MNG.

I am still waiting to here some revenue plays from those in charge. I should live so long. By the way, they need to work and be well thought out. I should live so long.

newsjunkie said...

i agree with the above poster and disagree with the original one who is claiming it's the guilds fault. NO. First, actually more guild people have always been laid off than non guild. Second, ALL 5 non guild people who were part of this layoff left VOLUNTARILY. So stop scapegoating. study up and get your news straight.

newsjunkie said...

to the 5:30 poster, the union has absolutely NO say in the firing of managers. ZERO. only guild members. dude, you got bad information.

Anonymous said...

February 21, 2009 3:18 PM:
what do u mean? so far there have been no copy desk non volunteers, though. they were all volunteers. so far...
and photo, there was one non volunteer. the other took the buyout.

Anonymous said...

OK for the last time. Yes there were volunteers. I was one of them. No one held a gun to anyone head. Yeah I get it!! My point is this...the guild is currently SAVING people that should not be saved at the expense of talented people.

Let's say one person has 20 years on the job and another has 10. Both are experienced and dedicated. But the person with 10 is more talented and grows and evolves with the times. The person with 20 years is stagnate and does only an adequate job. Who should go? Well the guild IS preventing managers from making that call. They are forcing them to cut the 10 year employee over the 20. What do you call this? I call it seniority. An if you are for one second going to try to tell me this did not happen. You are wrong I had a front row seat and watched the whole thing go down. My point from the very beginning is Keep the best people not just the people that have been there the longest.

And one last point, only some of the people that left last week were voluntary. Three on Friday were definitely not voluntary.

Anonymous said...

And to Newshound are you even a Daily News employee? My guess is NO. So you are the one that have no idea what you are talking about.

I could not be less bitter about me leaving I wanted to jump off the sinking ship. What gets me is seeing some of my extremely talented coworkers go. I am no hater. Grow up.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I mean Newsjunkie. Not Newshound.

Anonymous said...

When layoffs happen we are told that those employees who have longevity trump those who have more talent...an absolute fact!

Anonymous said...

Let's say one person has 20 years on the job and another has 10. Both are experienced and dedicated. But the person with 10 is more talented and grows and evolves with the times. The person with 20 years is stagnate and does only an adequate job.

The problem is, management didn't see it that way, and they're the ones who made the decision. By their analysis, Jr and Sr were the SAME - if they weren't, MNG could let go of whomever they want. The only time seniority counts is if everything else is if there's nothing else to consider - it's the last criteria, not the first.

When layoffs happen we are told that those employees who have longevity trump those who have more talent...an absolute fact!

And Janiga said they're be no more layoffs. Try reading the contract next time. If you want to parrot Dean and Janiga's BS you can, but it just makes it easier for us to mark you as a tool and a company shill. But then again, you just said you were in the room when the union and the company were negotiating, so I guess that's not too far from the mark, is it?

If you're management, then it's YOUR fault the layoffs came down the way they did. You guys had the decision, and you guys held the axe.

Way to go champ!

Anonymous said...

Look expert. You may have some deep seeded quest for the union to thrive/survive, I have no skin in the game here. As a former senior lang manager, I can tell you a fact, when told to let someone go, we were instructed to pick the least senior of the two, I never said it was a union job, that was your take. I am sure there is language in the contract that spells out the particulars when dealing with union jobs, remember most employees are not union, so I guess they don't count. And as far as passing blame around, when you have an HR person telling you what they need done from a legal requirement, and you question it several times and still hear the same answer, I guess you do the opposite right?

It appears you are confusing the posted comments here...even though they are anonymous, there is a time listed.
Get a grip pal.

Anonymous said...

Look expert. You may have some deep seeded quest for the union to thrive/survive, I have no skin in the game here.

Then what exactly are we arguing about, and why are you trying so hard to blame management decisions on the union?

"Sorry bud, but you're out of here. And by the way, we didn't want to do it but your coworkers made us!" FAIL.

As a former senior lang manager, I can tell you a fact, when told to let someone go, we were instructed to pick the least senior of the two, I never said it was a union job, that was your take.

No, that's the take I got from the "As guilty as you all think publishers and owners are the guild has just as much blood on it's hands. SHAME ON YOU!!!" comment. If it's not yours, then I'd like to hear you, as a former senior LANG manager, acknowledge that that statement is a load of crap.

I am sure there is language in the contract that spells out the particulars when dealing with union jobs, remember most employees are not union, so I guess they don't count.

I'd love for you to try and support that argument with anything I've posted.

And as far as passing blame around, when you have an HR person telling you what they need done from a legal requirement, and you question it several times and still hear the same answer, I guess you do the opposite right?

No, I just don't try to blame other people for my shitty decisions. But then again, I was never a LANG boss either.

It appears you are confusing the posted comments here...even though they are anonymous, there is a time listed.
Get a grip pal.


My favorite response is the "that's some other anonymous" bit. If you weren't the guy I was responding to in the first place, why the hell did you jump into our conversation? I know you probably don't like taking advice from us plebes, but in the future, if you plan on just inserting your nuggets of wisdom without invitation or preamble, you might want to let it be known you're not the OP, or the poster the response was directed at. Just a thought...

Anonymous said...

My point is this...the guild is currently SAVING people that should not be saved at the expense of talented people.

I assume that post isn't yours either, Mr. Manager? Because that sure sounds a lot like you're blaming us for your decisions.

Anonymous said...

how are you a former lang senior manager yet you say you took a buyout last week? there were NO senior lang managers at the DN who did that. sounds like you are making it all up.

Anonymous said...

you said you had a first hand seat and are "goating" the union but there were ZERO "LANG senior managers" who took a buyout. there were non union workers who didn't manage anyone...about 5 of 'em. but those were NOT LANGers nor were they senior. you sound utterly confused. at least if you had your facts right i might actually pay attention and think about some of your points. but you don't even have that part right. go figure.

Anonymous said...

Maybe medication should be in your future. Of 28 posts prior to this one, 25 are anomyous, I guess you think the same person wrote most of them or all of them but yours. Listen, a few facts...I left lang when the stupidity reached a level that prevented the newspapers from being a success...on my own without a buyout. Second, like you I am able to express my opinion and facts as I saw them whether you like them or not. I never took a buyout last week, never said I did. And I will state one last time, the criteria to layoff non union staff which is the bulk of total layoffs was based on longevity, not talent. You can argue all you want to but it is a fact. I would respectfully suggest that you don't lump all comments that are Anon as coming from the same individual.

Newshound said...

Don't mean to correct you, but they're all anonymous, even this one.

When anybody posts under their name, everybody attacks them and it becomes about them.

Smarter than the trolls said...

Whatever.

As far as I'm concerned, you're backpedaling away from earlier comments after you got blown out of the water. I'm done with you.

From now on I'm using the "name" option, I think more people should do the same. Especially since these halfwit trolls seem to have a proclivity for ducking in and out of conversations in a lame attempt to hide their idiocy.

For the record, my posts are:

1:00
3:41
4:18
5:41
11:42
5:43
6:56

I was having a conversation with the poster from

8:16
3:18
5:37
9:45
3:19

I'd like you to tell me which of those are and aren't yours, Mr. Manager. Especially since they each make reference to an earlier post. If only some of them are yours, please explain that, and show me which post is your first one in this thread.

(For the record, this is the part where you refuse to give a straight answer)

SttT said...

The saddest thing about all this is that I don't even like unions.

But LANG has so many bad managers and an executive structure that's absolutely vicious, so we don't have any other choice. A union is our only option, because you guys are that godawful. The union is far and away the lesser evil here.

This sort of thing is the proof. Look at the responses we're getting. Moss and Garcia swing the axe yet again, and shitheads try to blame the employees for it!

THAT'S why I'm defending the union. No matter how bad they might be, they're a million times better than you'll ever be.

Anonymous said...

to 8:16 a.m.
sounds like you are making it up b/c there were 4 non guild who voluntarily left last week and none of them were senior lang managers nor did they manage anyone. hmmmm.

Anonymous said...

also, to 8:16 a.m. once again get your facts straight dude.

editor1 said...

face it folks, LANG is sinking fast. when a paper in a metro are as LA lays off a film critic and tv critic you know you are in trouble. all they do is cut. it's sad. once they can't cut anymore, uh oh. folding time. they should just fold now rather than decimate it and turn it into a rag. i hear the whole copy desk is gone and the whole features department. something like 4 people total in features now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the correction Newshound, you are correct, but, at least you can be identified by your monicker.

My posts are at 3:59
4:45
8:12
9:59
3:19
7:36

I stand by all that I said earlier as they are facts.

This is a good way to discuss those issues that cause a decent newspaper group to fall offf the cliff in the last few years because of inept leadership and bad decision making.

If you want to argue with me about my first hand observations, that's fine and you are entitled to your point of view as I am to mine.

I will also go on record that over the past several months, what I have heard and posted are accurate and have happened.

One more time, since any union discussions seem to be highly sensitive to some, most employees at lang are non union, criteria used from the top of the organization was based on longevity, not talent.

The very sad part in all of this that appears to be lost is that very good people are being axed, union or not. The newspapers and readers are worse off because of reduced talent and a lot of this could have been avoided by better leadership.

newsjunkie said...

to 8:16 p.m.
again, clarify yourself. you are scapegoating the guild and yet no facts and you are making no sense. you claim to have first hand knowledge. so are you a DN employee? were you one who took a buyout last week? if you are claiming to be non guild, you obviously are one of the 5 so called "managers" although you don't manage anyone. go figure. and you took a voluntary buyout. so why all the anger?

Anonymous said...

to 8:16 p.m.
again, clarify yourself. you are scapegoating the guild and yet no facts and you are making no sense. you claim to have first hand knowledge. so are you a DN employee? were you one who took a buyout last week? if you are claiming to be non guild, you obviously are one of the 5 so called "managers" although you don't manage anyone. go figure. and you took a voluntary buyout. so why all the anger?

I have clarified myself. I'm not angry I did take the buyout and I was a DN employee for many years. If you look at my post about the 10 years over the 20 years. That's what bothers me. I have friends getting laid off. While people that should have been gone already remain. I think your the one that's angry. If I knew your job title I would put it in quotes too. Very condescending you are... I'm sure your position is way more important then mine was.

Anonymous said...

awww, they reassigned strauss? that's awful. just another sign of bad moves by lang. he had name recognition and work his butt off. unbelievable.

jd said...

does anyone know when the DNers are going to san gabe?

ex langer said...

look at this. wow

Cost-cutting moves unveiled in the Daily News today include no more editorial, Op-Ed or business pages on Mondays, and the comics and TV grid moved into the front news section.

why buy the paper?? geez louise. sad move after sad move.

Anonymous said...

Why buy the paper indeed. When Ed Moss and his lack of talent management team finish the DN won't be around. Circulation, Advertising, Revenue, Talented employees all gone on his watch. Who has he brought in? They don't have a clue on how to grow anything. I recognize the economy is worse than it was 12 months ago, but, Dean, couldn't you have done better than what your leaders are doing to the Lang papers?

Anonymous said...

Instead, they'll have a blogger who's more about the glitz and gossip and the issues from Hollywood that middle America still cringes about.

-- and being gay in Hollywood, let's not forget about that!

Anonymous said...

i was in the front row. i was "given a choice" about taking the buyout on thursday or taking a chance i wouldn't be laid off on friday. i was assured i would be laid off on friday. so i took the thursday buyout. if that is a choice, that's what i did. i call it having a gun put to your head. yes, i worked there for more than 20 years in every job you could have except flying the press. and someone with less seniority, certainly less skills and no understanding of professional conduct or teamwork is still there -- i am told because the union will not allow this person to be laid off. that, and the threat of lawsuits from the inept worker have kept this worker on the job for years ... i won't say how many, but waaaaay past retirement age, with medicare, medi-cal, social security and all in place -- all things those of us laid off lack. and THAT is what's happening at the dn copy desk, in case those of you in the cheap seats want to argue some more. and yes, i worked on the copy desk.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't involved in the last posters comments, but, if true, hard to argue the specifics.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Look at the rats biting each other as the ship sinks...what a bunch of jerks.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
the news editor1 said...

to 12:19 PM

it has nothing to do with the union. get your facts straight. the person you are refering to has threatened lawsuits and has some goods.

and unfortunatley, although you may say she is inept, another reason is her reviews were good. she had good reviews. so there was no way.

very sorry that you were laid off. you sound really bitter. sorry about your situation.
wish you good luck.

Anonymous said...

12:19.. which were your posts?

you are very misinformed.

Anonymous said...

And now you can officially say goodbye to entertainment coverage, according to LA Observed. The thanks Greg Hernandez got for covering the Academy Awards was a pink slip today, meaning the retreat into the Valley is complete.

mrluver said...

well, it has always been a second class. hasn't it? just now joining the party? if you worked there forever, obviously couldn't do better.

Anonymous said...

12:19 PM

it appears those in the cheap seats know more though b/c the union has nothing to do with this person you are refering to. that "person" you are refering to had good reviews for years. that is the first reason. may have been quirky and disliked by all, but good reviews. so it's hard to can someone like that. second, this person has some goods on stuff that would definitely be law suit material. you should put energy into worrying about yourself and not your neighbor. so copy editor, get your story straight before just shooting from the hip. you were going to get laid off anyway, so i guess you are upset about that. you sound like sour grapes.

Anonymous said...

"...The person with 20 years is stagnate and does only an adequate job..."

"...deep seeded..."

Holy crap, you guys make your living with words and you don't even use them correctly. No wonder the paper's going out of business....

Anonymous said...

I left lang when the stupidity reached a level that prevented the newspapers from being a success

So you left in early 1998?

Anonymous said...

Bidwell, are you trying to stir up crap again?

Anonymous said...

which trolls?