Phillipe and Jorge don’t want to think the worst about what’s to come at The Urinal now that Little Rhody’s organ of record has been sold to New Media Investment Group and its newspaper conglomerate, GateHouse Media. But P&J — often referred to as the Woodward and Bernstein of Vo Dilun investigative journalism (that’s Percy Woodward and Sol Bernstein, best known for revealing former Governor Bruce Sundlun to be an alien sent to Earth from a distant galaxy) — have caught at least one glimpse of what may happen when GateHouse takes the reins.
A January 14, 2013 post from media watchdog Jim Romenesko (jimromensko.com being the place for dirt on all facets of the journalism world) had this report about GateHouse-operated Patriot Ledger and Brockton Enterprise. In a memo, the editor of the papers, Chazy Dowaliby, introduced staffers to new newsroom policies that, if implemented here in the Biggest Little, are no doubt guaranteed to improve local coverage and be enthusiastically embraced by the ink-stained wretches on Fountain Street.
A few highlights:
As part of a broader effort to contribute to our general economic position as we develop new revenue strategies across the company, we are asking your cooperation with expense saving measures — effective immediately.
1. Absolutely NO overtime without prior approval from an editor
2. No meals, entertainment, food or other miscellaneous expenses may be incurred without prior approval from an editor. [Better hope your editor drinks at the same bar you do! — P&J]
3. We will no longer be able to supply coffee service in our newsrooms. We will use up whatever supplies are currently on hand. I suggest you bring in a mug or your own disposable cups.
4. We will not be able to provide paper plates, plastic cutlery, cups or napkins.
5. We will not be replacing general office supplies in the short term...Please also consider absolute need before printing in color.
Romenesko followed the memo by pointing out, “While GateHouse can’t find money to buy coffee and office supplies, it managed to scrounge up $800,000 for CEO Michael Reed’s year-end bonus.”
So if you see a BlowJo reporter (technically, we can’t call it the “BeloJo” anymore) nodding off during a town meeting, or scribbling notes on the back of a crumpled piece of paper taken from their child’s coloring book, or wearing stained clothing that looks like they tried to cut their sausage-and-pepper grinder with a #2 pencil and it fell it their lap, know that those innovative, ultra-efficient GateHouse policies have been put into action in Our Little Towne.
P&J thundered recently about the appalling number of General Assembly seats that will go unchallenged in the November election, with one in four candidates having a cakewalk back to the State House.
But wait, there’s more.