Clifford Teutsch trying to show he understands how reporters must be feeling after the latest memo from the parent company’s suits. He’s trying to be reassuring. He’s trying to clear things up.
He accomplishes the opposite.
From: [Hartford Courant executive editor] Teutsch, Clifford
Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2008 6:17 PM
To: Courant News Staff
Some of you have raised questions regarding today’s communications from Randy and Sam.
I can give you some answers now and more in coming days. We are going to have to make significant newshole and staff reductions. I will give you specific numbers as soon as they are finalized and I can share them. We want you to know what we face. We will be asking for your help in re-inventing the paper. We’ll let you know the process and timetable soon.
Randy said that Tribune newspapers have reviewed the productivity of writers. I was asked to count bylines and look at numbers of stories for people in comparable jobs, i.e. town reporters, sports reporters, investigative reporters. I did that. It’s nothing new for us; we often look at byline counts when we do annual evals. If something jumps out at us from the numbers we explore it further with the writer. There is no hard formula, no right number, no minimum, etc., etc.
For the review that Randy referred to, we didn’t count unsigned briefs or web stories. Some people do far more of this work than others. All of us are smart enough to know that numbers are just one imperfect indicator of productivity. Some stories are much harder to do than others, etc. Also, I hope I don’t need to say we are focused on quality as well as quantity. We will continue to spend weeks and months on stories that are worth it. By the way, as far as the numbers go, Courant writers as a whole were very productive.
I will get you more information as soon as possible. If you have a concern, please talk with me.
I’m sure they did have a concern, but I doubt they talked to Cliff.