The Guild sums it up

Dateline: Mon 11 Aug 2014

From our local Indianapolis Newspaper Guild, this statement:


"The Indianapolis Star today announced today its "newsroom of the future." It involves 15% fewer journalists than the newsroom of the present. The copy desk, those folks who make sure stories are readable, who catch a tremendous amount of mistakes and who generally make everything of higher quality, is being "dissolved." We're going to lose 5 of 11 photographers and other support staff. Some good middle managers who guide journalists young and old will be out of a job soon, too. What the paper is telling the public is that there will be 6 more reporters. And there will be. With beats like beverages, party crasher and holidays and observances. No, we are not making this up. Welcome to the future."

Good Lord.


Mary Beth Schneider on Twitter

Dateline: Mon 11 Aug 2014

The former political reporter for the Indy Star, Mary Beth Schneider, is reporting managers being hacked from 24 to 16, copy editors from 12 to zero, photo staff from 11 to 6, video editing, from 1 to zero, and reporters being increased from 51 to 57.

Plus some nebulous category called "producers" are going from 15 to 22. Can anyone define producers?

Obviously the Star is going to rely on reporters more for taking pix and being their own copy editors as well as managers.

Also, those who volunteer to leave (assuming their jobs are tapped) are being promised severance packages.

People are gagging over M.E. Jeff Taylor's glossing over the situation.

But what else is new?



1 comment

Eighteen jobs cut

Dateline: Mon 11 Aug 2014

at the Indianapolis Star, leaving one to wonder: who will be left standing to put out the paper?

The word is that nobody is getting the axe today; Gannett, in its fake munificense, is allowing people to reapply for jobs. Those who don't make the cut will be dismissed.

As in the past, it's simply a numbers game.

Here's a breakdown of who is on the chopping block: 12 copy editors (meaning all copy editors at this point, gasp!), 8 managers, 5 of the photo staff (about half), 3 folks in support (secretaries?) and everyone who is part-time.

The numbers do not add up because, in theory, some people will be retained. But the above apparently must all reapply for their jobs.

I do like what former music critic/Guild president/Star refugee Marc Allan said: if you're still there, and your number is up, do not allow this experience to define you. You are not a copy editor...or a photographer...or a manager.

The point are a journalist, and your skills are transferrable.

That strategy has proved to work out for many former colleagues.

If anyone has any corrections to make to the above, speak up. Several people have fed me information today, but nothing is official.

Good luck to everyone.

Note: I first reported 19 jobs are gone, but 18 is what is being said now.



1 comment

Date changed to tour building

Dateline: Thu 19 Jun 2014

Thanks to Randy Baughn for posting on the Great Hoosier Daily:OPEN HOUSE DATE CHANGE!

FYI — date change — spread the word!? Thanks

From: <Hervey>, Emily Hervey <>
Date: Thursday, June 19, 2014 12:21 PM

Subject: DATE CHANGE: The Final Edition at 307 now 8/14/14

Please save the new date for our farewell building party!

The Final Edition at 307
Thursday, August 14, 2014
The Indianapolis Star, 6th Floor 
4:00 – 6:00pm

Invitations will be sent shortly.

Myrta Pulliam
Director, Special Projects
Star Media |
Office: 317.444.8008



Happy anniversary

Dateline: Thu 15 May 2014

St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Indianapolis is celebrating its 75th anniversary this weekend -- and as Jerry Garcia said, "What a long...strange....trip it's been."

In disclosure, I am a Catholic convert, and most people know converts are unusually hard-core on the faith. So forgive me my trespasses here.

My decision to become a Catholic was based largely on the examples set by two men years ago. One was a priest in Evansville who worked tirelessly and with graceful humor with the poor. He was a Dutch Catechism kind of guy, more interested in the spirit than the letter of the law -- he embraced the post-Vatican II liberal church. The other was an Evansville newspaper editor whose blood ran Madonna blue, a traditionalist from the British John Cardinal Newman school. The editor did not mince words on matters of integrity, morality and faith -- or journalism, also a sacred credo.

I took the priest's advice when we moved from our quaint, impoverished Evansville parish to Indianapolis. "You have to check out St. Thomas Aquinas," he said. Wait 'til you see it. That's where you belong."

He did not mean only the building, although in 1970 STA became a contemporary structure designed and built by architect Evans Woolen, a "church for the revised Catholic liturgy" where the iconic crucifix does not exist but a huge, bright-red art cross hangs on unpainted concrete walls, the altar was cast of stainless steel, and the pews are "in the round."

The church was unvarnished until time for Mass; then the people rocked out. This was the tail-end of the Pope John Paul "revolution," which meant Masses sometimes included -- at STA anyhow -- clowns, interpretive dancing and thrumming guitars. Oh, and gender-free references to God. (Use "God" as opposed to "Him.")

More importantly, STA is in the heart of the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood, and both bodies were as racially integrated as a Catholic church and a cozy, traditional neighborhood that survived white flight could be. STA was "part of the solution not the problem" and believed in "bloom where you are planted," thus welcoming racially blended families and people of all color and sexual orientation.

To my mind, during my early years at STA, the parish sometimes diverged into a season of silliness. At one Lenten Mass, a lay leader took the pulpit and explained we were all being given rocks to take home. We were to contemplate these rocks -- but, why, I never really understood. It was so fuzzy and feely that I thought it was nutty, and that surely I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

So when I made fun of the rock thing to my colleague and fellow Catholic at the Star, the benevolent John Shaughnessy (a cradle Catholic), he joined in the laugh, then allowed, "I just figured, well, why not? Maybe these people just have more faith than I do."

That was admirable, and while I tried to believe it, there were times when our paths and STA no longer crossed. We moved into the St. Joan of Arc parish; we went to church there. We moved to St. Luke's neighborhood; we worshipped there.

Somehow, we always ended up back at STA.

For "traditional" Catholics like myself, the point of the Mass is to celebrate the Eucharist: the body and blood of Christ. At STA, it is also important for some folks to voice their prayers and social justice/political concerns (a tradition that became a boiling point a year or so ago, but that's another story). The larger tension between the liberal faction of church and the more conservative Vatican leadership over past years -- up until the most recent Pope Francis -- has played out at STA.

All that aside, I've stayed. I've gone, I've come back, and I'm staying. I'm going to the birthday party.

An acquaintance, Jeffrey McCall, a media professor at DePauw University, is a loyal Catholic who worships at St. Paul's in Greencastle, where I also lived and prayed. This was during a time of much anger and despair towards the church regarding the sex abuse scandals and cover-ups. I asked McCall one day after Mass what the secret was of his fidelity. How could he, an analytical man, stay so rock-steady when the whole church was stinking with corruption.

"The church is like your mother," he said. "And if your mother was in trouble, you wouldn't leave her, would you?"

No. And that explains the loyalty of many Catholics who continue to pack the pews despite the dissension of the past decades. A story, incidentally, that never makes the mainstream news.

I feel the same loyalty for my little parish, which one friend refers to as "the last stop on the way out the door of Catholicism" for many people. That could not be less true for me, but for some, perhaps it's so.
It's not perfect. But it's my church.

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