Posted on | January 4, 2013 | 13 Comments
The paranoid managerial regime now in charge of The Washington Times has announced a successful further liquidation of the kulaks:
The Washington Times summoned several staff members to the auditorium this morning. Inside sources say management has laid off approximately 25 employees in a newsroom of 90 . . .
Several employees who were not invited to this morning’s meeting… suspect that they will be fired separately. . . .
Meanwhile, TWT consultant John Solomon, who ridiculously insists he has nothing do with layoff decisions, is meeting with the remaining employees this afternoon to discuss operations.
Another Glorious Triumph of the Five-Year Plan!
Such helpless ineptitude would be funny if it were not so tragically sad. FishbowlDC also published a brutal resignation letter submitted last month by the paper’s former deputy editorial page editor:
The Washington Times today is the most unprofessional and dishonest organization I have ever encountered. I can’t continue to spend the lion’s share of my professional time fighting unethical practices being pushed by top leaders in the company.
When I quit five years ago — immediately after it was announced that Solomon had been hired from the Washington Post to replace retiring editor Wes Pruden — some of my co-workers thought I was crazy. Most of those people were subsequently laid off and, whenever I run into one of them nowadays, they congratulate me on having had the foresight to get out while the getting was good.
UPDATE: Veteran photographer Rod Lamkey, sports writer Patrick Stevens and web editor Ted Starkey were reportedly among the kulaks liquidated by the regime in the latest purge. One staffer, Steve Repsher, who got re-hired after being laid off in 2009. was laid off again, but not before remarking the irony:
@doubleuefwhy And with the emphasis on a transition to a digital-first operation, they lop off half the web desk
— Steve Repsher (@SteveRep44) January 4, 2013
UPDATE II: By my count, the Washington Times is on its fourth editor in five years. Editor No. 3, Ed Kelley, was hired in June 2011 and lasted only 16 months in the job. David Jackson was hired as his replacement (Editor No. 4) in November. Meanwhile, John Solomon (Editor No. 1) was re-hired by the Times as a consultant in June (after he left the Daily Beast in January) and was reportedly the man in charge of “reviewing all the departments to decide who they retain” in the latest round of layoffs. You have to be sort of a Kremlinologist to understand who’s who in the Supreme Soviet of the People’s Democratic Republic these days.
UPDATE III: In November, Washington Times editorial page editor Brett Decker resigned and, about three weeks later, Kerry Picket announced she was leaving the paper to join Breitbart.com:
“This is a smart move for Breitbart News and a huge blow to the Washington Times. There is no other way to spin it,” said former TWT editorial page editor Brett Decker, who was Picket’s boss from 2009 until last month. “Kerry’s online reporting generates millions of pageviews a year. During my last days at the newspaper, she had about 1 million pageviews for a single post.”
When Kerry walked out, among the valuable assets she took with her was a Twitter following of more than 12,000. Is there any staffer remaining at The Washington Times who has a social-media presence that size? The newspaper’s main Twitter feed has barely 60,000 followers. (By comparison, David Limbaugh has 87,000 Twitter followers, Dave Weigel has 98,000 and Mark Levin has 190,000.)
This just goes to show the myopia of management. A couple days ago, The Glorious Peoples Commissar David Jackson published a “vision” paper with a lot of blather about becoming a “digital-first news organization” in which “our Internet and online audiences will become our first thought.”
This would seem rather difficult when there’s apparently no one in the organization with a significant social-media presence.