Barbara Blake: Barbara is perhaps the newspaper’s most well-known reporter, having worked at the newspaper since 1974. Last December, her daughter, Casey Blake, wrote a great piece for the Citizen-Times recounting her mother’s career to mark Barb’s 40th anniversary. Casey is also a reporter at the newspaper.
Barbara has won numerous honors for her writing, including two Thomas Wolfe awards. She’s covered all the big stories of the day for the past four decades. She’s the newsroom’s mother figure, quietly checking in with everyone, taking on extra editing duties and helping organize Thanksgiving and Christmas newsroom dinners (along with Holly, see below). Read Casey Blake’s story about her mother, Barbara Blake, here.
Bill Sanders: Bill is the photo editor at the Citizen-Times. This is his second go-round at the newspaper, having first worked as a Citizen-Times photographer in the 1970s, I believe. Bill is a career newspaper photographer.
Bobby Bradley: Bobby started out at the newspaper as a graphic designer. Most recently, Bobby has been producing videos and shooting photos. I’m not sure how long he’s been at the newspaper.
Holly MacKenzie: Holly has been the newspaper’s staff librarian for years. As the newspaper has gradually cut back on staff, Holly was tasked with doing more and more regarding online archiving and most recently she’s been tasked with some copy editing duties. Holly has been with the Citizen-Times for at least 20 years, though I don’t exactly how long.
UPDATE 1 p.m. Aug. 8: Asheville Citizen-Times newsroom employees have had to reapply for their jobs Thursday and Friday. The result will mean fewer jobs and the regionalization of some coverage areas between the Gannett-owned Citizen-Times and Greenville News in Greenville, S.C. Over at jimromenesko.com, there are Gannett job descriptions posted. The ones posted are for Gannett’s Pensacola newspaper, but they’ve been standardized and will be used across Gannett.
Josh Awtry, the editor of both of those newspapers, talked about the restructuring in an interview published Aug. 7 by Columbia Journalism Review. Awtry offers up some details about the changes, hints at the regionalization of reporters’ beats and sidesteps the question of whether or not Asheville employees would have to reapply for their jobs. Another topic that went unexplained was Awtry’s mention of new “digital producers” the newspapers will hire. What’s a digital producer?
If you’re interested in more detail and background about how Gannett got to this point, read Jim Hopkins’ excellent and details recounting in this December 2013 piece at Gannett Blog.
Original post Aug. 6, 2014: Asheville Citizen-Times Editor Josh Awtry on Wednesday announced a “sweeping reconfiguration” of the way the newspaper’s newsroom is organized following an announcement by the newspaper’s corporate parent, Gannett, that it would spin off the 80 newspapers it owns into a separate company.
In his column, Awtry said the reconfiguration would result in “more reporters, more resources dedicated to watchdog journalism and more staff dedicated to answering your questions and serving you better online.” Followed by this:
Full disclosure: realigning will come with some pain. In keeping with the realities of a fragmented media landscape, the trade-off is that there will be fewer management positions, fewer production-related roles, and that will make us a little smaller overall.
Translation: fewer employees focused first and foremost on serving up news via the Internet.
Employees at in Gannett newsrooms around the country are reporting that they’re being required to reapply for their jobs. The result will be that some people will be laid off, while others will be placed in new jobs. Those likely to be hit: editors and copy editors.
Will Asheville Citizen-Times newsroom staffers be required to reapply for their jobs? I have yet to hear. I was at the newspaper in 2010 when the company required newsroom employees to reapply for their jobs, and layoffs followed. It was a horrible experience. We were pitted against people we worked side-by-side with for years. We were required to answer to a corporate HR executive, then be quizzed by your editors. The result, from my point of view, was a room full of depressed employees.
A year ago this month, that the Asheville Citizen-Times slashed eight newsroom employees (including me) in its last round of layoffs. And it was another wrenching experience. The result – more employees feeling beaten down.
In another recent blow to the Citizen-Times, one of its most talented staffers announced her departure. Photographer Erin Brethauer announced that she was taking a new job at the San Francisco Chronicle. Nobody at the newspaper expects that her position will be filled.
Media analysts are mostly positive about Gannett’s move to spin off the newspaper division. In doing so, the company moves the debt that burdened newspapers to the TV/digital side, thus relieving at least some of the pressure from Gannett having to make up lost profit by slashing resources to the bone. Other analysts see the move as an easy way for Gannett to begin selling off some, or all, of the newspapers it owns.