OMT One Man's Trash...from Norman Leahy

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 :::

Climate of Fear at the Times-Dispatch

A fascinating read from Greg Weatherford in Style Weekly about the climate of fear that has descended on the Richmond Times-Dispatch. There are big changes afoot at the newspaper, some of which, it becomes quite obvious, do not sit well with the newsroom staff.

But I found this little bit very, very interesting:

I called the Times-Dispatch to arrange interviews with Proctor, the new executive editor, and his boss, president and publisher Tom Silvestri. Silvestri, who became publisher in January 2005 after a respected career as an editor at the T-D and later as an executive with Media General, has announced that the paper will be more accessible to its public. To that end, he’s held a number of “town-hall” meetings and discussions with readers.

Following the paper’s new protocol, I called Frazier Millner, the paper’s promotion manager, and asked her to get in touch with them. She said she would.

Whenever meetings or interviews with management have to be cleared first by a "promotions manager," it strikes me that the corporation in question has ceased to be serious -- or for that matter, entirely trustworthy.

It should be very clear to anyone who has read this blog that I've had my share of issues with the TD's coverage of a number of stories. That's only to be expected, however, as a daily -- and in the TD's case, the only local daily -- cannot be all things to all readers. However, if there are major changes underway at the paper, and those changes are causing more than the usual griping among the staff, then it's a story worth covering. And even more, it's a story the TD would be very wise to get out in front of as soon as possible. Otherwise, the result is an article like this one, that raises more troubling questions than it answers.

And leave the "promotions manager" out of it.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 7/12/2006 0 comments


"You know what the fellow said: In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they also produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love -- they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." -- Orson Welles, The Third Man

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