I got an e-mail this morning from Tim McGuire, the former editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, pointing me to the most-recent entry on his blog. The subject on the e-mail was, "A plea for sanity." It said little else, but included the link to his blog, which, by the way, you'll see is prominently featured on my site under the "Other sites" list.
I'll get to the content of his blog entry shortly, but first, some of McGuire's credentials. Tim is the former president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. During his decade as editor of the Strib, he was also the paper's senior vice president. Before that, he was the newspaper's managing editor. He has also been a nationally syndicated columnist, writing about ethics and spirituality in the workplace. Currently, he holds the chair for the business of journalism at Arizona State University, which is where I met him a little more than a year ago while taking a journalism ethics class there.
The point of reciting his background is to make this point: When McGuire sends an e-mail pleading for sanity in the news business, it's time to pay attention.
The plea comes just days after news that the editor of the Los Angeles Times, Jim O'Shea, is leaving the paper after just 14 months on the job. It's still not clear whether he was forced to quit, fired, or is leaving out of protest, but one thing is clear: It was about cuts to the newsroom. Seen as a company man, it was surprising to learn O'Shea stood up against those newsroom cuts and butted heads with the newspaper's publisher.
"You read it here first," McGuire writes. "More editors are going to bite the newsprint dust in coming weeks and months, and many publishers are going to celebrate the demise of the 'impractical' editor because publishers are focused on the cost/profit debate."
At the same time, though, McGuire asks the news industry to keep looking at the deeper business debate. "Don't let it get simplistic," he writes. "Real leaders have to step into the fray and declare a unified mission that includes profit, top-line growth and enhancing the core mission of informing and entertaining readers."
I'll let you read the rest in McGuire's own words.
Editor's note: I've been short on blogs lately, but am trying to remedy that. Thanks for your patience.