Monday, May 07, 2007

Do Us A Favor And Quit Already

[Posted by reader_iam]

In a classic, classic newspaper-management move (designed, IMHO, to communicate the message in my post title), the Minneapolis Star Tribune has decided to reassign columnist James Lileks to write straight local news stories. Of course, no one's entitled permanently to the real estate of a newspaper column, but that takes not one whit away from the ridiculousness of the specific choice of reassignment in this particular case. How transparent can you get?

I could tell more than a couple of tales of weird reassignments I saw while working in the newspaper biz, the purpose of which was either to punish the reassigned person or induce him or her to quit. But they'd just be the same old stories of a classic tactic.

It should be noted that Lileks is not the only Strib columnist being affected, and the larger context is a downsizing at the newspaper. I'm not familiar enough with the other columnists to know, but I'm somewhat suspecting that Lileks is in a better position to strike out on his own, if that's what he chooses to do (though it's pretty obvious, so far, that he doesn't want to).

One more thing: You'd think management would have taken into account Lilek's internet/blogosphere presence and profile in making their decision and implementing it. Well, maybe they did.

Maybe they did.

Update: Dave Barry weighs in.

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