Guest Post by Loki
I find the recent shakeup at the Helena Independent Record (HIR) very interesting. I wonder if the HIR and Lee Enterprises is about to collapse. And if it does, is it because of the Internet or their bias.
John Doran was only appointed editor a few years ago in 2007. Now they are combining the editor positions of the Montana Standard and HIR into one position and Doran is thrown to the curb. They call this a ‘cost saving’ change. Yet they are also promoting several others and hiring others in Butte. I can’t see how that can produce a cost saving. It sounds more like a shakeup and change of direction.
The HIR is what I would call a typical moderately liberal newspaper. Most if not all of its news stories are from liberal sources such as the NY Times, AP and Reuters. But I also know that John Doran believes he is publishing a balanced paper without bias. If anything he has gone out of his way to try to bring a balance to the paper. Paul Krugman used to be one of the HIR’s go to guys on the opinion page. Publishing of Krugman’s articles have declined quite a bit recently. Doran has also starting publishing a monthly synopsis of the articles on the opinion page listing the bias of the national writers. This makes me wonder if Doran went too far and management is trying to realign the paper to its liberal readers.
But nationally newspapers have been trying to compete with the Internet where readers can pick and choose their news sources. This has caused a nationwide drop in readers and stock value for newspapers.
This leaves the question what is the real reason behind the shakeup. Is it a step backwards to bias or is it a real attempt at cost savings?
In my opinion it may not matter. Moving the editor from the state capitol and trying to run the HIR remotely is destined for failure. The logistics are stretched and the cost savings imaginary. Also the false belief that an editor in Butte can understand the politics that permeate all of Helena. I see this shakeup as a major managerial failure.
I wonder where I will get be getting my advertising flyers in the future.