A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!
Everyone's decided that the newspaper as we know it--big sheets of thin paper you can use to polish windows or wrap your trash -- is about to be extinguished. But apparently that hasn't been happening fast enough, so the newspapers themselves have decided to speed along the process of self-destruction.
First they convinced the advertisers that they weren't a good place to advertise, and the advertisers obliged by stopping advertising there.
Now they're getting rid of their most seasoned employees. And when they go, the paper gets thinner, and not just in terms of size.
Last month the Journal Sentinel announced that it was jettisoning 10% of its employees, the second major shrinkage in six months. President Elizabeth Brenner told USA Today that the layoffs/buyouts would be done by the end of the year -- another five months away. If they're like most businesses, the next batch of lost jobs should be just in time for Christmas.
You can't find a list of who's gone yet, but the news is oozing out. First Mike Nichols said farewell. I never especially liked Nichols, but he made me think, sometimes with some heat under the collar. That leaves Patrick McIlheran to be annoyed by. But he's not half the writer Nichols is, and he'll never make anyone rethink a comfortable thought the way Nichols occasionally did.
Yesterday, we learned that Joanne Weintraub and cartoonist Stuart Carlson were among those who'd accepted buyouts. They're some of the best.
I wonder if the paper's management has noted the irony in their most recent big story by veteran reporters Dave Umhoefer and Alan Borsuk. It seems that Milwaukee Public Schools built lots of fancy additions while cutting back on staff, hoping to lure folks back to the neighborhood schools. It didn't work, at least partly because it's who's inside the schools, not the buildings, that determines loyalty.
When my bill arrived, I put it aside. Why should I keep subscribing to
"the paper"? There's less of it, and what's in it is not necessarily the
best of the lot. Advertisers, journalists. . .add readers to the list of missing elements.
You can get information anywhere, but knowing what it's worth is another matter altogether. Good reporters and editors, like good teachers (or even just more teachers) can make a lot of difference when it comes to making sense of things.
If sense is what you want, that is.