Checking In at Gannett

Jim Hopkins, editor of Gannettblog, has written a couple of posts that might be of interest to those following the fortunes of the 29th's "paper of record", the Democrat and Chronicle.

Jim notes that the D&C is a two-time winner of the Gannett in-house diversity award.  He also wonders if Gannett's focus on diversity has yielded the results they're shooting for.

Jim also looks at the conundrum of "resources".  A resource shortage is one of the excuses given for the light coverage of the 29th at the D&C.  Jim relates his experiences at another Gannett property, the Idaho Statesman, which is now owned by McClatchy (emphasis mine):

The Boise paper employed about 65 folks in its newsroom when I worked there in 1991-96; I suspect employment under McClatchy hasn't changed much. But my experience, working for one of the best editors I've known, shows that a small number of staffers, managed well, can produce very good work. The editor, John Costa, had come to the Statesman from Florida's St. Petersburg Times. Costa was an outsider; he had not worked his way up through Gannett, so his hiring was a little unusual.
Costa was an old-fashioned First Amendment journalist. Over and over, he preached the importance of using freedom of information laws to hold powerful people accountable. Once, for example, when I was reporting on a state prison story, I found myself in a federal courtroom, hearing a judge about to seal an important court document from public view. During a hearing break, I called Costa and asked what to do. He told me to return to the courtroom, and ask the judge to reconsider. When the hearing resumed, I stood up at the back of the very big courtroom, and called out to the judge -- startling the assembled attorneys. (In response, the judge offered a compromise.)
Costa's approach to producing great journalism was simple: Take the best stories, assign them to the newsroom's most talented people -- then get out of the way, and let them do their jobs. He believed readers would remember big, impactful stories long after they'd forgotten the routine stuff we produce daily, just to fill tomorrow's paper. If a reporter was working on a project, and Costa saw her name attached to a daily on that morning's budget, he'd demand to know why. 


Warning - many reporters have rather large opinions of themselves

Warning - many reporters have rather large opinions of themselves

Yeah, it's a good thing we bloggers don't have that problem. ;)

I, for one, have no idea what you're talking about, Exile.

Elmer, I agree that there are a lot of reporters with big heads - as with most ego, it's a good thing when it drives them to work harder so they can live up to their egotistical view of themselves. It's a bad thing when they get self-satisfied and complacent.