It's no secret the newspaper industry is dying a slow, painful death and layoffs are commonplace. But this story fromRomenesko about what's happening at the Kansas City Star may be the most maddening, depressing, unbelievable story from the print media world. It's something I've never seen or heard of happening before at a legitimate, real-life company.
The newspaper is forcing two writers, Karen Dillon and Dawn Bormann, to decide their own fate on which one out of the pair will be laid off, and which one will stay employed.
"The Kansas City Star has told reporters Karen Dillon and Dawn Bormann that one of them has to leave the paper, and they — not management — have to decide who goes.
“Dillon has seniority, so she has the option of taking it or not taking it,” says a KCConfidential.com source. “And if she does, Dawn gets laid off. Dawn’s a great person but I think Karen will vote in favor of herself because she’s got teenage kids at home.”"
This tactic has been universally slammed with equal amounts outrage and disbelief. How could anyone in a decision making position pass off that decision making and force writers to fire one another? Is the leadership at the Kansas City Star that cowardly? Is this some kind of weird psychological ploy meant to mess with the other staffers at the paper? Whatever the case, Dillon evidently made her decision this morning and Bormann was laid off according to KCConfidential.com.
If the Star is willing to stoop to that level, they should have gone the full way and wrote a lengthy expose on the emotions of both Dillon and Bormann. Why not totally exploit the situation for all it's worth? Have a cage match or give them each a bow and arrow and tell them the last one standing gets to keep their job. Cameras should have been ready when Bormann found out it was her colleague that made the decision to fire her. Then they could post video on their website.
Hello, pageviews! Hello, digital age!