OLD Media Moves

WaPo biz editor: This is not Armageddon

June 5, 2006

Washington Post business editor Jill Dutt notes that even though the department is losing nine people from its staff with more than 200 years of experience at the paper due to buyouts, the remaining staff is still larger than what she had in 1998.

Still, the nine buyouts caused a potential logjam of goodbye cakes and special front pages.

NYTimes reporter Katherine Seelye wrote, “The business news section, which is losing nine people, confronted a potential pile-up on Thursday. The department feared a cake jam, in which nine cakes would have clogged the aisles, not to mention the arteries, of innocent bystanders, as well as a press jam, in which nine honorary farewell front pages — tailored to each departing employee — would have clogged the presses. So the department decided to take an orderly approach to its goodbye ritual.

“Jill Dutt, assistant managing editor for business news, said the department produced one big cake. And it made up faux front pages for five of the nine people who are leaving this month; the other four, who are leaving later, will receive their pages later.

Jill Dutt“‘We couldn’t have our art department doing nine extra pages in one day,’ Ms. Dutt said. ‘We have a real paper to put out.’

“The ceremony took just under an hour and included farewell speeches and reminiscences of individual journalism odysseys. Gone will be such familiar bylines as Paul Blustein, Martha Hamilton, Albert B. Crenshaw, Chuck Babington, Caroline E. Mayer, Leslie Walker, Sandra Fleishman and Jerry Knight. One editor, Nancy McKeon, is also leaving.

“Ms. Dutt said that while she would miss their collective experience, seven of their jobs will be filled by younger staff members. Moreover, she said, the department, which will have about 60 people when the buyouts are over, will still be about 30 percent bigger than it was in 1998 when Ms. Dutt began in the section. ‘We had grown by 45 percent since 1998,’ she said. ‘So this isn’t Armageddon.'”

Read more here.

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