A wandering mind

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I’m a little worried about the health of the Reno Gazette-Journal. I don’t often tee off on that paper here in the Editor’s note, but the latest round of retirement buyouts is really bumming me out. Last week, we reported that Cory Farley is leaving; this week, we’re reporting Tonia Cunning, Steve Sneddon and Don Cox are also on their way out (see Upfront, page 10). Fortunately, for readers, some of the other respected journalists are not being bought out, but—jeez—they are getting few and far between over there.

So the paper got rid of a bunch of over-50, white journalists. It’s possible that means there will be an influx of young, hungry reporters to re-energize those Kuenzli offices. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

So I sit here, on the other side of a huge philosophical gulf, and I wonder what those highly paid and presumably experienced minds over at Gannett headquarters must be thinking. These are the kind of decisions that only make sense if the readers are no longer important to the management.

But if the readers and employees of the newspaper don’t matter, then who does? OK, we know the RG-J supports business in all things. That’s why, in every community controversy that matters, that newspaper comes out in favor of business, regardless of the impact on the community itself. So maybe they’ve decided their advertisers come before the readers and employees in the hierarchy of things. Any further speculation on these lines could be construed as self-serving—not that the stuff leading up to here hasn’t been.

But Gannett is smart. They didn’t get to be the biggest by making stupid decisions. That tells me that the important people to Gannett may be the people who are not reading the paper. That’s certainly the majority. I wonder how these decisions relate to all the time Gannett is putting into reorganization of newsrooms and re-allocation of resources toward the internet.