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CSotD: Friday the 13th Funnies come on a Friday this month

Last night I pulled out two bankers’ boxes of old manuscripts and published works and papers from college and high school and began sorting them, mostly into “recyclable paper” and “recyclable cardboard” and “trash.”

I ended up keeping a modest 4-inch stack of stuff that I think will not drive my heirs and assigns to ask, “What the hell did he keep this for?”

Among the recycled were job evaluations, hence this Bottomliners.

We had a tradition called “lunch with the editors” where they’d take you out and buy you lunch and then make it impossible to eat.

The fellow in the cartoon likely has to go through this process more often; probably monthly, but at least he doesn’t have to pretend to choke down a meal while it’s happening.

 

I’m perfectly willing to accept that it was all some kind of misguided attempt to be friendly, unlike in Alex where nothing happens by mistake.

I took the lesson with me when I got into management, which was a lot easier when I was only managing one assistant than when I had a newsroom of a half dozen people, none of whom, I suspect, ever trusted me.

Well, I hope I didn’t inspire nausea, anyway. And I suppose if they did somehow think the boss was their friend, it would have put them in very dangerous waters later in their careers.

We had a change of publishers at one paper where I’d been doing the educational outreach programs for about six years, and, at the cake-and-lemonade party to welcome him, he came up to me, shook my hand and told me how important he thought my programs were.

And I said, “Oh, shit, I’m toast,” and sure enough I was out of there within four months.

Exactimundo, Pros and Cons.

 

I was not very far into those four months before this Calvin & Hobbes panel went up over my desk.  I’m not sure it helped a lot, except to keep in my mind that eternal philosophical question, “If Sherman’s horse can take it, why can’t you?”

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Non Sequitur)

 

(The Flying McCoys)

Presented for your approval, the management styles of three out of four newspapers where I worked.  Four out of four, once the guy who hired me left that one paper.

And this wasn’t an either/or proposition. It was a mash-up.

At one point, a GF suggested that I could get a good dark comedy out of my experiences, but I’d have to tone them all down to make it credible.

 

I read the news today, oh boy

Prickly City has been running a story arc this week on the closing of newspapers, and it’s been amusing without, IMHO, quite getting to the nub of the issue.

I went through the Internet transition of the early 90s, and remain convinced that, if newspapers had remained the individual prized personal brainchildren of local owners, most of them would be perfectly healthy today, but that combining them into a chain of more than six or eight leads to the problem of “Idiots In High Places.”

Especially if they’re publicly traded.

This is at least a two hour rant that ramps off into what those bastards on Wall Street did to the iron mine in my home town and why we don’t bother saying “leveraged buyout” anymore because they all are and how the aforementioned Idiots in High Places first ignored Craigslist and then flocked to put all their content out there for free and …

Enough.

Any publicly-traded company can identify with the metaphor of a steakhouse where the boss finds a source of cheap meat and won’t listen to the chef explain that it’s tough and fatty and people won’t like it.

Then, when customers stop coming, he blames everything from the weather to the progressive city government, but not his decision to cut quality.

More specific to the newspaper industry is the idea of a fastfood restaurant where you have to pay to eat inside but everything is free at the drive-thru, and the boss demands that the manager increase the inside traffic.

Seriously. And woe betide the poor circulation manager in a market where the local team wins the Superbowl, because his job will hinge on duplicating those Monday single-copy sales again the next year when the team can’t get their jocks on straight.

Part of this podcast from Shankar Vedantam’s “Hidden Brain” examination of newspapers talks about starting up smaller, on-line news organizations, which is happening in a lot of markets.

 

It’s promising, but, as Winslow notes in this later Prickly City episode, they don’t have the staffing to blanket the community the way the old-school newspapers did.

Carmen’s issue of ink-on-paper is irrelevant, but there is a serious problem when you end up doing a really good job covering three or four issues while all sorts of other things slip past unseen.

And I don’t know if our current situation is simply a matter of unfortunate historic timing or whether the cockroaches have crawled out precisely because there’s no more bright lighting to frighten them away.

 

Well, yes, Dogs of C Kennel, there’s that. Big bulbous pop-ups while you’re reading a story are a pain, and I have to marvel at the integrity of papers that allow semi-porn, paranoid clickbait faux-articles on their websites.

You can turn off those annoying notifications, by the way, but the ink-on-paper thing is over and you dogs are just gonna have to learn to adapt.

 

Enquiring Minds Want To Know

Anne and God asks a crucial question, and I don’t have an answer, but I do have an answer for how you cope with it.

I was in a liquor store when I heard a couple ask the clerk, “What’s the best butterscotch schnapps?”

He responded, “I’m not sure, but we sell a lot of this.”

That young man will go far.

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