*UPDATE 3* Paper cuts: Axe falls on newspaper employees, others return to the grind | Ink By the ByteBanner, Ink By the Byte — By Christopher Spencer on October 29, 2009 at 6:13 pm
** UPDATE at 6: p.m., 11/06/09 ***
Bob Caudle was hired today by the merged Northwest Arkansas Newspaper as a Benton County’s fire and police reporter. The offer was made after Anna Fry, who covered that area previously, decided to find greener journalism pastures in Washington, D.C., sources say.
Here’s the note from his Facebook status:
Bob Caudle For those of you scoring at home, The Morning News called today and offered me a job covering Benton County fire and police. I took it. We’re going to iron out the details on Monday. This has been quite a week….
Also, Razorback columnist and newspaper merger casualty Nate Allen has been offered a freelance contract by Northwest Arkansas Newspaper to write a three times a week sports column. The offer was made after a successful Facebook effort by about 150 people drew attention to Allen’s dismissal from the paper.
Group organizer Beth Presley provided this note today that was written by Allen, thanking people for their support. It reads as follows:
Without my beforehand knowledge or consent, you have made Nancy and me feel like “It’s a Wonderful Life’s” George Bailey.
I have never had such a following other than the last batch of bill-collectors chasing me from Roger’s Rec to the Bank of Fayetteville.
Your sincerity even exceeded theirs. And they were indeed sincere.
Thanks to you, some of them might even start getting paid off, or as much as a sportswriter’s salary pays anybody off.
Last Thursday I signed a 2-year contract that’s supposed to take effect next week to write three columns a week for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
That never, ever, would have happened without you all.
Like George Bailey, you have made me feel like the “richest man in town.”
Because while the money is no greater than what I previously received, the enrichment of so many caring so much to take it upon themselves to lobby for my employment is a treasure lasting forever and infinitely greater than any money I could ever spend or save.
Nancy and I are still overwhelmed by it all.
I would imagine those at the newspapers are, too. Especially with them knowing full well I am too computer illiterate ever to have organized and engineered this since I don’t even Facebook or Twitter or can do much beyond sending e-mail.
The outpouring is nearly as baffling as it is wonderful.
I’m even wondering if a lot of you have parakeets lobbying to keep their favorite target in their birdcages.
Whatever the reason, we will never forget your kindness.
With the greatest love and appreciation to you all,
I’m pleased that these two columnists were given a chance to return to the work that they enjoy. I think it should also be a lesson to those news reporters who ply their trade silently and want or are asked to keep their identity removed from their work. You remain anonymous at your own peril.
Engage your audience and make yourself known. Take control of your own brand as a writer and cherish it and develop it, building trust with your audience. The public would not likely feel the same connection with Bob and Nate if they were not columnists and had not developed that audience over the years.
In general, newspapers do not want journalists to have power in their own name and exert pressure to make sure that doesn’t happen.
You should resist that pressure.
** UPDATE at 8:30 p.m., 10/30/09 ***
Morning News reporter and columnist Bob Caudle will continue his column as a freelancer. It will be published by Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.
Caudle posted this comment on his Facebook page today:
“Employment update. My column will be in this Sunday’s paper, I’ll take a week off and then pick back up on Nov. 9 on a freelance basis. The editor asked and I agreed. I appreciate everybody’s kind words, thoughts, phone calls, e-mails … etc. And thanks to West Doss, I’m sure Walter Hussman at some point in the day asked, “Who in the hell is Bob Caudle?” Seriously, thanks”
First, a serious caveat. We’re talking about real people’s lives here so I hope anyone who comments will keep that foremost in their mind.
Also, this is a post that’s covering an event in action. It’s a composite based on multiple sources. Everything is preliminary and subject to change as I learn more. If there are mistakes, please inform me in the comments below so I can make those corrections immediately.
For many people, this sort of coverage is inside baseball for the newspaper industry, but for others, this is their livelihood.
Thursday is typically the last day of payroll at the Morning News, so it makes sense that the cuts would come today.
Among the editors:
We already know that everyone at the tip-top stays in place.
Donna Lonchar will be the Morning News’ Springdale editor.
Leeanna Walker will continue as the Morning News’ Rogers editor
Greg Harton will likely remain editor of the Northwest Arkansas Times in Fayetteville
Mike Jones will be Bentonville editor at the Benton County Daily Record.
Among the reporters:
Morning News columnist and reporter Bob Caudle was told today he would not be retained with the new newspaper after almost 17 years.
“There’s really no hard feelings, business is business and, apparently, I didn’t fit into their plans,” he said from his home this evening.
“You look at it from a business standpoint and the guy that makes the most money … I’d probably have fired me to.”
Caudle said he plans to take some weeks to burn through his severance and play some golf, contemplating his next move.
Charles Fowler at the Benton County Daily Record was also let go. Charles Huggins, who covered police and Washington County government for the Morning News, was also laid off. Jamie Smith, a reporter for the Benton County will also not be part of the new company.
My thoughts are with each of you.
On the scene
Folks were called into offices this morning and afternoon and told whether or not they made the cut.
Production, the technical side of producing the new paper is still rough. No one knows for sure how all the pieces are going to come together, said one employee who was re-hired by Northwest Arkansas Newspapers LLC.
The new company is expected to begin publishing the combined newspapers on Sunday.
“We were numb going into it but wired. Even afterward, everybody’s kind of like a zombie.”
Lament for the Fourth Estate
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (NWA edition)
Northwest Arkansas Times
Benton County Daily Record
The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas
Other employees, including those listed, might not have applied again for their jobs.Please leave a comment below if there are any inaccuracies.
- NWA newspaper merger becomes “officially” official as papers drop simultaneous press releases | Ink By the Byte at 6:30 pm on October 26, 2009
- Wehco and Stephens marry as Northwest Arkansas Newspapers LLC. is formed Friday | Ink By the Byte at 12:24 pm on October 24, 2009
- Washington County can no longer house immigrants suspected of residency violations | CF at 10:06 pm on February 28, 2010
- Arrest made in Rogers bank robberies case at 12:48 pm on July 4, 2009
- NWAnews.com gets a new online editor at 11:37 am on July 12, 2009
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