Creative Loafing (Atlanta) editor Mara Shalhoup has been named to the same position at sister paper Chicago Reader.
"Creative Loafing's bankruptcy is just one more media story to follow, along with the Sun-Times Media Group's bankruptcy and the Tribune Company's bankruptcy," Michael Miner writes. "But CL's is the story I'm part of." He explores the difficulties of "reporting on your own house" as a media writer, and explains why he kept news of Reader layoffs off his blog for four days -- and didn't name any of the departing staffers -- just days after he had broken news of layoffs -- with names -- at Chicago Public Radio. "I have no explanation that will satisfactorily answer this question," he writes. "The fancy one I'll retreat to is one word long: epistemology. You see, it's not simply what journalists know that matters to us but also how we happen to know it. I knew what happened at WBEZ because I got a tip and worked the story; I knew about the Reader because it's home."
As the Creative Loafing bankruptcy case winds its way through the courts, Michael Miner reports that the Reader laid off more staffers last week. "Six more layoffs last Thursday reduced this paper's editorial staff to 17," Miner writes. "It was 38 when the old owners sold [Ben] Eason the paper." Creative Loafing (Tampa) also announced a handful of layoffs last week. MORE ON CL: Former Creative Loafing (Atlanta) editor Cliff Bostock offers his take on the problems at the Loaf.
"No one here told John Conroy to lay off police torture," is the headline to Michael Miner's blog post written in response to last week's Chicago Sun-Times column on Conroy's work on police torture at the Reader and a related piece from the Beachwood Reporter, an online newspaper. Editor Alison True strikes the same chord in a separate blog post, saying that "I encouraged John to explore other subjects," but "never asked him to lay off police torture."
John Conroy, Harold Henderson, Tori Marlan and Steve Bogira were laid off this week by editor Alison True, Michael Miner writes on his News Bites blog. True tells the Chicago Tribune that, given the mandate to cut costs by her new bosses at Creative Loafing in August, it became difficult to afford their work. "The numbers are part of a deal that was structured a long time ago," she says. "Even if [CEO Ben Eason] were the most passionate journalist in the world, he wouldn't have the option of saying, 'I'll give you a little extra this year so this doesn't have to happen.' He's bound to his deal." Meanwhile, Fishbowl DC is reporting that five editorial staffers were laid off at the Reader's sister paper today: Washington City Paper writers Joe Eaton, Amanda S. Miller, Tim Carman and Jessica Gould, and editorial assistant Joe Dempsey, are all no longer with the paper.
The Reader's Michael Miner reports that Ben Eason didn't focus on editorial matters in Wednesday's meeting, but rather on "web opportunities, regaining ground lost to Craiglist in classified advertising, and the efficiencies of centralizing the design work in Atlanta," a change Miner notes "is likely to cost a dozen or so Reader employees their jobs." After the meeting, when Miner asked Eason about editorial, he said "it's everything" -- but Miner isn't so sure that's Creative Loafing's approach. He thinks the Creative Loafing papers' design "doesn't respect the stories it ought to serve. If the centralized design staff makes this the look of the Reader ... I think readers will judge it as antithetical to what they've understood the Reader to be." According to Miner, Creative Loafing will turn the Reader into a one-section tabloid, a change the old owners were also planning.
That's what the suburban Northwest Herald is saying about Reader media critic Michael Miner's recent column criticizing a Herald TV ad. Editor & Publisher has the entire letter exchange between Chris Krug, group editor of the Herald's parent company; Reader editor Alison True; and Miner. E&P also has comments on the column from Andy Schotz, chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists' Ethics Committee and a source in Miner's story.
Most of the ads cited in the fair-housing lawsuit recently filed against the free-classifieds juggernaut "would not strike an ordinary person as discriminatory," says Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster. Nevertheless, newspapers have lived with the "persnickety" Fair Housing Act for many years now, writes the Chicago Reader's Michael Miner after hearing from several AAN classified directors who vigilantly scour their housing ads to ensure compliance. But that doesn't mean alt-weeklies should be thrilled by the suit. "We have two dogs in this fight," says Chicago Reader Executive Editor Mike Lenehan. "(W)e shouldn't be too eager for them to lose this suit, because we're all in the online business too."