By paulgillin | May 30, 2008 - 9:00 am - Posted in Google

Rob CurleyThe Washington Post’s voluntary staff reduction has cost it a lot of fine journalists but perhaps no loss is greater than that of Rob Curley, the Kansas wunderkind whom the Post recruited less than two years ago to lead its Washingtonpost Newsweek Interactive division. Curley and at least five of his staff members are pulling up stakes and moving to Las Vegas to work on unspecified projects at the Las Vegas Sun.

Juan Antonio Giner aptly sums up the tragedy this is for the Post, which has long been one of the more progressive papers in its approach to new media. We can only speculate on Curley’s motives. In an entry on his blog last week, Curley paid homage to all the fine talent at the Post and the support he’s received, but notes, cryptically, “I probably wasn’t the best fit with the organization….In Las Vegas, our team has a chance to help shape an entire organization.” Perhaps they didn’t have the chance to do that in Washington.

The bio on the Washingtonpost Newsweek site sums up Curley’s accomplishments:

  • Director of new media and convergence for the Naples Daily News and its sister publications along Florida’s Gulf Coast;
  • Management positions in the interactive editorial operations for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World, during which time he gained national prominence as one of the first online editors chosen to lead a news organization’s entire print and broadcast news operations;
  • Editor & Publisher named the Lawrence Journal-World as one the 10 newspapers in the United States that does “it right” in 2004. The Naples paper later received similar praise.

Washington’s loss in Las Vegas’ gain.

Time, Inc. Joins User Content Parade

Your Old House coverAnother publisher – this time a unit of venerable Time, Inc. – tries its hand at a print publication composed entirely of user-generated content. This Old House – renamed Your Old House for this experiment – is the product of “thousands of e-mails, letters, photos and projects since editor Scott Omelianuk’s first call for submissions in his December editor’s letter.” The magazine set up a website to accept content and promoted the initiative in broadcast and online. 8020 Publishing and the Hartford Courant are doing the same thing, perhaps indicating that editors are finally warming to the idea that their readers have something interesting to say. It isn’t easy, though. Editors say the quality of ideas contributed by readers is remarkably good, but the copy needs a lot of work.

Layoff Log

  • The nonprofit St. Petersburg Times will try to cut staff through an early retirement incentive but might have to resort to layoffs later this year, according to a publisher’s memo. Attrition has reduced headcount from 1,500 to 1,300, but it still isn’t enough. The newspaper is also freezing wages for a year. (via Romenesko)
  • Massachusetts-based SouthCoast Media Group has laid off five full-time and nine part-time employees. Like many news organizations that report on their own staff reductions, didn’t give any clue as to big this layoff is, other than to note that the move reduces employment by less than 5 percent. Quotes from the publisher demonstrate unrealistic optimism about to the future.



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