Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Under Rug Swept

The axe is officially swinging at the Orlando Sentinel. Unfortunately, this is only the first of two (known) swipes it will take. 

Today was a scary day for the government team, the business team, and the 'How We Live' team, as they prayed to avoid the blade. But whether they perished or survived will never be officially confirmed through any special memo. In a few staff meetings, Editor Charlotte Hall acknowledged that around 20 percent of the 250 employee newsroom will be scrapped in the near future. But anyone not in one of those particular meetings at those particular times will likely never get anything close to an admission from her or any of the Sentinel management. Yet, Charlotte Hall is also the president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors- a group that is steadfast about making sure nobody (government, businesses, journalists) hides anything.

Does that seem a little odd?

Apparently, at the Orlando Sentinel the ASNE's ethos don't apply.

According to sources these are the Sentinel's secret casualties:
Maya Bell
Christopher Boyd
Dee Gugel
Mary Ann Horne
Scott Joseph
John Kennedy
Tammy Lytle
Babita Persaud
Mark Pinsky
Tim Povtak
Lyndsay Sutton
Harry Wessel
Claudia Zequeria

*Allegedly, in a couple of weeks the breaking news team and the communities team (among others) will know their fates as well.


Anonymous said...

make that Lyndsay Sutton.

now holding breath till the end of the month.

Anonymous said...

and make it Dee Gugel.

benjamin b markeson said...

Who is Dee Guggle? I recognize many of the other names but not that one.

It seems that the Sentinel has, unfortunately, decided that having bureaus (John Kennedy, Tallahassee; Maya Bell, South Florida) doesn't fit into their brave new world of less news. That's myopic on their part.

i'm also saddened to see Mark Pinsky go. IMO he's an excellent journalist and it's unfortunate that the Sentinel doesn't think the religion beat is important anymore. That's sad since religion --no matter how you feel about it--is an important part of society and deserves coverage because of its influence and impact. Covering various religions can help build understanding and break down barriers between religions and prejudices against them. That benefits the community.

It's also interesting to note that Scott Jospeh appears to be the last Sentinel critic to get the ax. i remember when the Sentinel had a CLASSICAL MUSIC critic (admittedly not that many people listen to classical music, but i like it a lot and i enjoyed reading reviews of classical concerts), a DANCE critic, an ART critic, and a BOOK PAGE/LITERARY editor (Nancy Pate). i suppose not that many people care about the arts or books these days, but it's still a loss for the community when the arts and books aren't deemed worthy of regular reviews and coverage by the community's ONE daily newspaper. It really does represent a DUMBING DOWN of the newspaper and a dumbing down of the community. It does send a signal that the arts are important if the community daily deems them important of coverage, and without the arts our society is diminished; i really feel it becomes less civilized.

Come to think of it, i haven't seen Elizabeth Maupin's byline in the Sentinel in a while. I remember when the Sentinel would review a wide variety of theatrical productions, ranging from the Broadway Series at the Bob Carr to plays mounted by tiny little community theater groups downtown in converted store fronts. That's a loss for the community, too, since live theater can be an important part of the cultural life of a community, and reviewing productions can help build support for live theater in our community.

This just gets more depressing every day.

Anonymous said...

Dee Gugel = longtime sports desk editor.

Anonymous said...

I think it is disgusting and sleazy that they aren't even reporting on it. Now you see them, now you don't. Nice way to keep the readers informed!

Anonymous said...

There are still critics left at the Sentinel. Maupin's still there, as is what's-his-name, the outrageously boring music critic, TV critic Hal Boedeker and movie critic Roger Moore.

Anonymous said...

Movie critic Roger Moore? You have GOT to be making this up.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on spelling Claudia Zequeira's name right. No one else has. One more person for your list: Babita Persaud, who covered Demographics.

Anonymous said...

how can Zell justify keeping managing editor mark russell and editor charlotte hall when so many talented journalists are being kicked to the curb?

What does mark russell do all day....he's so rarely seen in the newsroom

Anonymous said...

Mark Pinsky is an interesting one -- talented journalist yes, but so rarely appearing in the newspaper that sometimes you wonder if he's spending more time writing his next book.

As for Maya and John -- I think John will be a bigger loss, since Maya's job has essentially been what the Sun-Sentinel should be doing.

She may be better than all of the Sun-Sentinel (kudos to her on basically handing them their Pulitzer nomination for hurricane coverage), but OSent should be using Sun-Sent more anyway.

benjamin b markeson said...

The person who pointed out that Elizabeth Maupin is still there, along with music critic Jim Abbot, movie critic Roger Moore, and TV critic Hal Boedeker, is right.

But I still maintain that by getting rid of the books page editor and critics who covered art, dance and other fine arts, the Sentinel is pandering to the lowest common denominator and doing a disservice to the community.