Thursday, April 30, 2009

Just as I feared, dammit

Have had my nose buried in grading and getting senior semester copy prepared all week as we close the semester, so I had this really, really bad feeling after seeing the news that The Baltimore Sun had cut a third of its newsroom -- 61 positions.

So I guess I was not surprised when I went to John McIntyre's blog this morning, just po'd. John, the AME of desks at the Sun and a good friend, was among those cut.

The Sun's ax fell heavily on management positions - 21 according to the various stories -- with the object being to keep reporters and reposition as a Web-heavy, social media, online-first operation. Good enough

But not good.

McIntyre was one of the good -- really good - guys in this business, someone who cares for language, accuracy and, above all, journalism. And beyond that, a gentleman above all else. As usual, he made his exit on his Sun blog with class.

He is a former president of the American Copy Editors Society, and so perhaps it's eerily fitting that this happens in the same week ACES is gathering in -- or rather straggling into (BTW, I recommend David Sullivan's post for so many more reasons than that little aside) -- Minneapolis, its future and that of many of its members far from clear.

For me, this goes beyond "newspapering" or "news" or "journalism" or whatever we want to call it today. It's a bit of a death in the family -- the family of folks I have come to know as friends and colleagues who care deeply about language and journalism & etc.

Oh sure, McIntyre isn't dead, and he promises to be blogging elsewhere. That seems to be the phrase of the age, doesn't it -- see you on the blog - somewhere else. I'll be sure to link. But it's unfortunate it probably won't be at the Sun. The "paper" could use the digital "juice."

Update: John's new blog is
Columnist Laura Vozzella has a column lamenting John's leaving and praising his work: Last seen in a bow tie, columnist's dictionary goes missing.

The best line of the 80+ comments on his blog lamenting John's leaving comes from one Mark Murphy: Hearing that a newspaper has laid off John McIntyre is like hearing that Noah has laid off the one crew member who knows the most about caulking.

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